Leave the leaves

A simple way to make life better for all the small critters that rely on leaf litter is to leave your rake in the shed and let the leaves stay on the ground until spring. Fallen leaves are important to the tiny ecosystem that exists in your own backyard. Butterflies, moths, earthworms, toads, salamanders, and many other small animals spend the winter under leaf litter and depend on it for their survival.

Leaf litter, made up of leaves, twigs, and pieces of bark, is an important component of healthy soil. The decomposing litter releases nutrients into the soil and holds in moisture. It also serves as great nesting material, hiding places, and protected spots for animals. This dead organic material provides the perfect habitat for a plethora of organisms, including worms, snails, spiders, and microscopic decomposers like fungi and bacteria. 

Make greener choices this season and give local wildlife a helping hand!


6 thoughts on “Leave the leaves

  1. I wish more people could be aware of this. I will show your blog to the council candidate I am working with and suggest that info like this should be shared widely in Birchwood.
    I can write a letter to the local paper too.

      • Part of a comment I just left on another venue re the value of leaving leaf mulch… (Of particular importance is the) leaves’ ability to form a layer and trap insulating air under the snow, and​​ 2-3” is a good depth for a layer of mulch but, any place where they’ll be deeper, some should be removed/relocated – like under a mature tree, for instance – as anything more than 3” won’t break down completely by spring and you risk suffocating the plants underneath. (Oak leaves in particular are very waxy and take the longest amount of time to break down and return to the earth.)
        And an even bigger reason: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146396/habitat-at-risk-for-snow-dependent-organisms

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