Carolyn Kruse

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Raking leaves is right up there with weeding and snow removal in the fun factor, isn’t it? Homeownership certainly has it’s moments. But, chin up my fellow outdoor chore procrastinator, there may be a way out of one particular task of contention. Drop the rake, and rev up the lawn mower. Make your leaves into mulch and feed your grass, garden and beds.

Here are some arguments, presented by NPR, for NOT raking the leaves. (But don’t tell your kids this until raking day, then switch out the rake for a lawnmower)

  • Leave It Out Of Landfills

    Every year about 8 million tons of leaves, collected from yards like yours and mine, end up in landfills.

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  • Leaves Help The Grass

    Honestly, my husband has said this for years, and I believed it was his excuse not to rake (which is probably was) but the point is, he was right. (I hope he isn’t reading this).

    Leaves are full of all the good stuff; nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. According to the NPR article, as explained by a professor of landscape horticulture, Susan Barton, “Those nutrients are being returned to the soil. But probably even more important than that, it’s the organic matter. It’s the fact that you’ve got this tissue that then eventually decomposes and improves the soil health.”

    Just remember they only work well when mulched, or mowed. Big leaves left on your lawn will block the sunlight it needs. So, you can’t be completely lazy.

    Lawnmower

     (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

  • The Bugs will love you

    According to experts, as cited in the NPR article, leaving the leaves also gives insects, slugs and spiders a habitat. And possibly a home for toads, turtles and smaller mammals. All important to the ecosystem.

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  • Keep your beds warm

    After you mow the leaves, you can leave piles around your garden beds and trees. The pros say  the leaves protect your trees roots from the harsh winter weather. And spreading them around the shrubs and in the garden add nutrients to the soild .

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  • Leaves Are A Valuable Resource

    Professor Susan Barton explains, “We want to think about those leaves as being a resource,” and not a problem, And when you think about sustainable landscaping, well, one of the things we say about sustainable landscaping is let natural processes happen. And that’s a natural process.”

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