Before you rake those leaves…


Bagging leaves can be back-breaking work — what happens if you leave the leaves till spring?

Many good things, as it turns out:

Free mulch. Fallen leaves prevent weed growth and retain moisture just like wood mulch. They also protect lawns and gardens from scattered salt when the ice hits. Delicate plants thrive under a mat of wet or frozen leaves, and can easily push through in the spring.

Shelter for bees and butterflies. Did you know not all Monarch butterflies migrate? A number of our fluttery friends overwinter in town! Caterpillars hide under fallen foliage, and friendly bumblebees use it to shield their eggs and larvae. Wait until warm weather is firmly established before carting leftover leaves to the curb.

Compost. If you practice home composting, alternate green waste with brown. This keeps your future fertilizer from becoming wet or smelly. Remember to use a pest-resistant bin and keep out bread, meat, grease, and oil.

Of course, if your homeowners’ association requires leaf removal, follow the rules. Keep leaves out of eavestroughs and drainage areas – if you can scatter a few on gardens and flower beds, your yard will thank you once spring has sprung.