‘Leave the Leaves!’ – Urban Organic Gardener
WMICENTRAL.COM – This has become a rallying cry by gardeners, natural landscape enthusiasts and ecologists. To let fallen leaves stay where they land in yards across America is becoming a popular trend. Not because homeowners and gardeners are lazy (so we claim), but because the leaves provide a protective habitat and ecosystem for the insects, critters and microbes that survive under a blanket of nutrients and protection that leaves furnish over the winter.
The latest natural science recommendation is to simply let the leaves fall where they may which allows insects, amphibians, worms, beetles, millipedes, mites, and larvae of pollinators such as butterflies, moths as well as bees to survive the winter months and complete their life cycle.
Nowadays, leaving the leaves is being a good steward of wildlife. That means we are no longer “leaf slackers.” We’re great contributors to providing eco habitats for pollinators such as the Monarch butterflies which are approaching massive depopulation due to urban sprawl and the heavy use of herbicides and insecticides. Bee populations are also decreasing due to Colony Collapse Disorder, whereby bees mysteriously disappear from their hives, never to return. The decline of these two important pollinators threatens food production which is becoming a worldwide problem. Therefore, leaving the leaves in yards and gardens is a good thing which leaf raking neatniks need to understand and appreciate.
Leave the leaves?! Yes or no…