It’s fall and there is a new, seasonal chore: raking.

leaf1Raking up leaves is something that most people with yards do, collecting the leaves into bags to be carted off to be turned into mulch somewhere else.  Maybe you create some leaf piles for the whole family to jump around in, but at the end of the day, the yard is bare of fallen leaves. But why put yourself through all of that?

It turns out that removing every single fallen leaf from your lawn might not be such a great idea after all. Fallen leaves actually have a purpose right on the ground, and in your yard.

This year, as the last of the leaves start to fall, consider leaving your rake in the garage and letting the leaves benefit your garden. It’s less work for you, and a healthy habit for your garden’s little ecosystem.

Before you throw out your rake, though, there are some areas that still need clean-up. Walkways and driveways should be kept clear, as leaves can be slippery. Move them to avoid slipping.

Other than that? Give yourself a break this fall, and if anyone asks, tell them any of these reasons.

Reason #1: Leaves Keep Nutrients In The Soil

Leaves on the lawn mean that the soil underneath will get more of the nutrients it needs as the leaves break down.As more things grow in a patch of soil, like grass or flowers, the more nutrients get drawn out.Soil needs decomposing material to keep it healthy so more grass and flowers can grow, and fallen leaves are perfect for this.

Reason #2: Leaves Protect Grass From The Cold

Plants can freeze just like we can, and just like us, the cold damages and even kills their cells.  If you want a healthy lawn in the spring, keep the leaves on it in the fall.Come winter, they’ll form a protective layer, like a blanket, between the grass and the snow. A thin layer of leaves (rather than a dense pile) won’t suffocate the grass.

Reason #3: Leaves Keep Weeds Away

However, if you’re looking to clear up a patch of weeds so it’ll be clear for planting in the spring, leaves are a great, natural (and free) alternative to weed killers.

Simply dump a pile of leaves on the offending weeds and leave (pun intended) them there all winter. Come spring, the patch will be clear.

Reason #4: Leaves Protect Bulbs

During the winter, bulbs hibernate in the soil, gathering and storing strength to bloom again the next year. But if they get too cold, they can die.Protect your bulbs this winter with a layer of leaves for added insulation.

Reason #5: Leaves Provide Housing

Biodiversity is important, but not just in the grand, planetary scheme of things. It’s also important in your own backyard!

Leaves provide shelter for bugs and worms. While the crawly little guys might not be your favorites, they do wonders for your yard.

Earthworms are essential for healthy soil, and other bugs make for rich and diverse wildlife. Give them a place to crash this winter.

Reason #6: Leaves Serve As Both Mulch And Fertilizer

An all-natural alternative to commercial mulches and fertilizers? Leaves!  When left on the ground, their nutrients get recycled back into the soil for plants to gobble up.

When placed in a flower bed, they also stunt the growth of unwanted weeds, letting the plants you do want get the most of the water, nutrients, and sunlight in the spring and summer.

Reason #7: Leaves Are Great For Compost

You’re likely going to have to remove some leaves from certain areas like walkways and driveways, where they can pose slipping hazards, but instead of bagging them up at the curb, try mixing them in with compost. They’re perfect for this!

Reason #8: It’s Pretty!

The beauty of fall is that the world turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. So why brush it all away? Your lawn will be green and pretty again in the spring, so for now, appreciate the change in scenery.Plus, leaves are fun to scuff through. Scuffle along and then appreciate them with a mug of your favorite autumn tea.

If you know anyone who dreads raking, SHARE these reasons not to with them!