Were Illinois Residents Just Given A Pass For Raking Their Leaves This Fall?
If you hate raking leaves, this might be the best news you'll hear all day!
Misconception About Raking Leaves
When we lived in our old home in Rockford, we had 2 rounds of leaf duty each Fall. The first was raking up all the leaves that fell from our neighbor's trees and blew into our yard. The second round usually came in late November/early December when our own trees finally dropped all their leaves.
We, (and by we I mean mostly my husband), spent countless hours cleaning up leaves and hated every single minute of it, but it had to be done or it would kill our grass over the winter, right? WRONG! Well, kind of wrong, actually.
Experts Say Don't Rake Your Leaves
This morning I stumbled upon a USA Today article that said;
Experts say raking and removing leaves can be worse for your yard – and for the planet, too.
SAY WHAT? Here we thought leaving leaves in your yard over the winter was super bad for the grass, but apparently, that's not totally accurate.
Before you start throwing out all your rakes and lawn bags, let's clarify things a bit.
Basically, leaving your entire yard covered in a thick layer of leaves is bad. Leaving some fallen leaves, especially around the base of trees and plants, is good. Here's why according to what David Mizejewski, a naturalist at the National Wildlife Federation, told USA Today;
The leaves fall around the root zone of these plants, where they do things like suppress weeds or other plants from growing that would otherwise compete with the trees and the shrubs.
As leaves begin to break down they also release vital nutrients into the soil, and that's another good thing for a healthy lawn comes spring.
Should We Not Be Raking Leaves At All?
If you've got a lot of trees that drop A LOT of leaves, rake a majority of them up and move them to a place where they can break down naturally. Or, better yet, mulch them into tinier pieces with your lawn mower. It doesn't take an environmental expert to know that the fewer leaf bags we have taking up space in landfills, the better it will be for our planet.
So the moral of this raking story is; don't obsess over removing every single leaf that falls in your yard before the snow flies, it's good to leave some there. Your back will appreciate the break.
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