GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)— Landowners, listen up: there’s a new excuse to leave the leaves as they are.
The National Wildlife Federation recommends property owners put down their rakes for the sake of nature. Here’s why:
- It reduces landfill waste. The NWF says leaves and yard debris account for 33 million tons of the nation’s sold waste, which leads to more greenhouse gases
- It helps the soil. Leaves serve as a natural mulch, supressing weeds while restoring soil nutrients.
- It protects wildlife. A variety of critters rely on leaf litter for food, shelter and nesting material, including caterpillars, birds and reptiles.
- It saves time. Who really wants to spend hours upon hours raking?
- It saves money. You don’t need to pay for yard waste bags.
Before you abandon all seasonal yard work, there is a catch. Experts say it’s best to cut up leaves using a mulching lawn mower.
“If you leave them all winter where they are, you will be sponsoring colonies from kingdom fungi – white mold and some other things who will actually damage your lawn,” said Peter Carrington, the assistant curator for Michigan State University’s Beal Botanical Garden.