Many homeowners in America treat fallen autumn leaves like trash, bagging them up to throw away or at best shredding them into mulch.
But as one TikToker recently explained, it’s much better to leave the leaves where they fall. Not only are you saving time and effort and returning nutrients to the soil, but you’re also providing winter shelter for wildlife, including the larvae of beneficial insects like butterflies and moths (in other words, caterpillars).
However, many HOAs have rules about raking up your leaves. While there are ways to change HOA rules, it can be difficult to completely eliminate lawn care standards. That’s where this Redditor’s invention comes in.
“Reduce lawn area, ‘leave the leaves,’ and give butterflies and moths a fighting chance,” they said, sharing several photos and diagrams of what they called “the Larval Landing.”
The Larval Landing is a set of simple wooden planters to be placed on the ground under a tree. Their hexagon shapes make them easy to arrange in a ring while covering the whole ground. Put them down, add soil and plants to some of them if you like, and then let the leaves fall from the tree above directly into the planters so they’re not lying on the lawn.
The caterpillars on the leaves can remain safely inside the planters all season, enjoying the food and shelter the leaves provide without being disturbed. In the spring, they emerge and can continue the cycle, laying their eggs in the same trees they came from. Since these insects are an important part of the food chain and play a vital role by pollinating plants, letting them finish their life cycle protects the entire ecosystem.
Plus, no raking!
Redditors did like the idea. “Dude, nice work,” said one user. “Might be copying this when I try to expand my front patio. Thanks for the idea and great execution.”
“The squirrels in your area are going to love these,” said another user.
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