Right now, people all across BC are getting ready for a colourful annual event, and it’s not Thanksgiving — it’s the yearly rake-a-thon of millions of fallen leaves.
And soon, many municipalities will provide homeowners with special times for a dedicated pick up of the leaves that we’ve all removed from our lawns, and packed in giant paper bags that will sit soggy at the curb.
But wait! What if you could avoid all that raking, the cost of big paper bags, and save the environment at the same time?! Well, that sounds good! Here’s how:
The Nature Conservancy of Canada recommends that we leave those leaves right where they fall. This allows the leaves to breakdown and feed the soil and the fauna found under that leafy covering.
Just leave those leaves alone and you’ll be providing a winter home for insects and small animals ... possibly even some essential pollinators. It’s definitely a win-win.
But if you love your green lawn in the summertime, chances are you won’t want to leave those fallen leaves right where they are. That’s because the layer of leaves can block light and even water that your grass needs to stay strong and healthy.
The solution is easy: go ahead and rake all those leaves off the lawn, but pile them into flower beds, and into tree wells, instead of into giant paper sacks.
This one simple act (and it’s waaay easier than loading up all those big bags), makes a huge difference to the health and well-being of our environment.
Now insects and small animals have a place to overwinter, a place to stay warm and even food to eat. This includes our precious pollinators, some of which will hide under the layer of leafy warmth.
Almost right away, wiggly worms will come up from underground and literally eat the piles of old leaves, dragging them underground and releasing nutrients back into the earth as they digest their leafy winter buffet.
And over-wintering birds, and the inevitable arrival of spring flocks, will also find plenty of quick, nutritious snacks hidden in the leaf piles that we can deliberately leave for them to enjoy.
Ultimately, keeping all those leaves on our lawns, or shifting them to flower beds and tree wells, is an easy win for everyone — including our natural little friends in the environment.