Fall is a beautiful time but very few people enjoy raking all of the beautiful leaves that collect on their lawns. Experts now say that raking every single leaf may not be necessary. When left in place, leaves serve as habitat for several types of wildlife, retain moisture in your yard, and can even help suppress next year’s weeds!
If you have a very thick layer of leaves all over your yard, consider raking most of them and composting the ones that you pick up or moving them to a garden bed to work as a natural mulch. If you have a moderate layer (50% of yard cover), you can run your lawn mower over them to help them break down more easily but otherwise leave them in place. If you have a scattering of leaves on your lawn, you can just “leaf” them alone!
Want to learn more about the ecosystem in your own backyard? Check out these books from the Engineering Library collection:
Learn all about the impact of trees on the world in The Tree by Colin Tudge
Interested in skipping the grass altogether? Check out Lawn Gone! by Pam Penick.
Want to learn other ways you can engineer using the world around you? You may like Organic Management for the Professional by Garrett, Ferguson, and Amaranthus.
Alfuth, Diana. “Leave the Leaves. to Rake or Not to Rake?” Wisconsin Horticulture, 13 Sept. 2023, hort.extension.wisc.edu/2023/09/08/leave-the-leaves-to-rake-or-not-to-rake/.
Bauer, Sam. “Good Question: Do You Really Need to Rake All Those Leaves?” Good Question: Do You Really Need to Rake All Those Leaves?, University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science, turf.umn.edu/news/good-question-do-you-really-need-rake-all-those-leaves.
Chiu, Allyson. “Why You Should Be Lazy and Leave Your Leaves in the Yard.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 14 Oct. 2023, www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2023/10/14/raking-leaves-yard-fall-environment/.
Doubek, James. “Why Experts Say You Shouldn’t Bag Your Leaves This Fall.” NPR, NPR, 25 Oct. 2022, www.npr.org/2022/10/25/1131114849/leaves-fall-autumn-compost-mulch-grass-lawn-nutrients.
Tumin, Remy. “Why You Don’t Need to Rake Leaves.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Oct. 2023, www.nytimes.com/2023/10/19/us/raking-leaves.html.