With the seasons changing from summer to fall, so comes the falling of leaves from trees.
As a casual reminder and a boost for anyone not so keen on yardwork, raking those leaves isn’t entirely necessary. Here’s why.
What causes leaves to fall?
First, maybe we’ll start with why leaves fall when the weather changes.
Except for evergreens — which, true to their name, can keep their leaves all year round — most trees shed their leaves to protect themselves.
Because leaves are more prone to damage and disease in colder temperatures and windier conditions, which can harm the tree, the leaves are shed so the tree can focus its energy on the toughest parts, such as the trunk, bark, and branches.
Furthermore, after the tree uses chlorophyll in the leaves during spring and summer to create food and then store energy for the winter season, the tree slows the production of this chemical as the light begins to decrease, and the leaves are no longer necessary.
The leaves then begin to get their lovely autumn hues but eventually fall.
Why it is wise not to rake fallen leaves
This isn’t universal advice, of course. When they begin to decompose, leaves can make a concrete yard slippery or clog drainage systems.
But on a grassy lawn, letting the fallen leaves be can have some real benefits.
As TikToker Karishma (@karishmaclimategirl) noted, raking leaves, putting them in plastic bags, and sending them to a landfill prevents them from decomposing properly and produces methane. This polluting gas is more potent than carbon dioxide in boosting global temperatures.
Furthermore, those plastic bags will not decompose for hundreds of years.
Some fall time spooky autumn eco tips for you! 🍁🎃🍂 my favourite sustainability tips are the ones where you don’t have to do anything 🥱 and this is one of them ✨ embrace your lazy side and DON’T rake your leaves. 🍁 Fallen leaves are SO IMPORTANT! From adding carbon back to the soil, to providing a home for little insects and critters, just leave the leaves where they’re meant to be. 🧡 happy spooky season!♬ Halloween ・ cute horror song – PeriTune
Sustainability website Treehugger, meanwhile, observed that fallen leaves create an extra layer of organic material that provides food, shelter, and bedding for wildlife, encouraging biodiversity that can improve yard health.
Worms, for example, thrive in this setting. They can also help improve the soil’s water-holding capacity, which can help protect your home from flooding in heavy storms.
Additionally, GardeningChannel.com described how leaves can be used for compost, providing a free source of fertilizer for your plants rich in carbon. They can also be kept for the spring season to encourage the growth of your new sprouts.
One top comment celebrates this news, saying, “Finally, my laziness has a positive impact.”
So, perhaps it’s worth taking a leaf out of these experts’ books and leave the leaves. You know you want to.
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