Summer has come to an end and autumn is here! Days are getting shorter every day, the temperature gradually drops and leaves change color. This, in combination with some strong winds, results in a perfect recipe for piles of fallen leaves everywhere.
It seems to be an annual fall tradition for many. Grab the rake and completely clear the (front)yard of all its leaves once they reach the surface. I always wondered if this is a just a nice Sunday afternoon activity for some people. Is it actually beneficial to nature or is it okay to ignore the mess?
Nature has evolved in such a way that it combines beauty with practicalness. The ecosystem in an untouched forest is completely self-sufficient. Hence, everything has its purpose. So is it something we would want to meddle into? Listed below are some reasons why not to!
Fallen leaves act as free fertilizer
One of the first rules I learned in physics was ‘the law of conservation of energy’. Energy can not be created or destroyed – it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another. The same principle goes for the falling leaves, making them very useful. The leaves are packed with organic material. Upon decomposing, these organic nutrients are released back to the soil. Nature will take care of your yard by providing free and easy compost!
Fallen leaves provide shelter for wildlife
Just as the trees are protecting themselves by letting go of their leaves many insects and animals have to take precautions to survive the winter too. Some species of solitary bees die before the winter starts. Prior to that, the female workers store eggs, sealed in nests. These nests are placed somewhere in a cavity, tree branch or under a few leaves. Another species of solitary bees will actually hibernate during the cold winter months. These bees will dig themselves a small burrow in the ground. Not only bees take advantage of the leaves on the ground. Also, butterflies, ladybugs and even some species of frogs make leaves their winter home. If we want a beautiful garden, we’ll need these pollinators in the spring!
An easy way to maintain the ecosystem
More insects around the garden result in a direct positive effect on the food chain. A lot of animals depend on insects, especially before the winter starts. For example, it’s easier for birds to find food if more insects are hiding under the leaves. An easy way to keep the ecosystem around your house intact.
More free time!
One autumn chore off the list! And so more time to spare on other projects. Maybe on building an insect house? But if you insist on raking, it’s an idea to gather some leaves from your lawn. Actually, a study found out that adding shredded to grass is an easy way to reduce weeds!
Have you ever seen somebody raking leaves in a forest? Trump may believe that Finnish people spent their downtime raking the national forests (that equal to 73% of Finland), nobody actually ever does 😉 And remember, forests thrive by themselves!