Raking leaves is one of the less enjoyable fall garden tasks, but if this is one of your annual chores you may now have an opportunity to change your practice. I found this article over at the Gardening Channel which reveals that new scientific advice is that raking up the leaves is not such a good idea after all. The article lists six benefits of not raking leaves so that’s just the excuse you need.

Unless you?re raking a pile of leaves to jump in, it isn?t much fun. And, a large yard with a lot of trees means all day raking. So, if you?re not looking for free mulch or to compost leaves, scientists suggest leaving them alone to benefit wildlife and the garden. Yes, let the leaves be.

Benefits Of Not Raking Leaves

1. Wildlife Habitat of Leaf Litter

The National Wildlife Federation states: ?The leaf layer is its own mini ecosystem!?
The leaves are a natural habitat for butterflies, salamanders, chipmunks, box turtles, toads, shrews, earthworms and others. They lay eggs in the leaves and feed on and under the leaf layer. By raking or blowing leaves, you disrupt their life cycle and eliminate beneficial insects.
Start peeling the layers back of a leaf pile, and see all the wildlife.

2. Increase Beneficial Insects

By providing a habitat, you increase the population of beneficial insects for gardening season. When leaves are removed from the yard, automatically you?re decreasing beneficial insects that are your friends come growing season.

3. Increase Soil Health

Add leaves as a mulch to decompose or till into the soil to add organic matter and nutrients. Organic matter in soils will help regulate soil moisture. Also, earthworms love soil with decomposed leaves. In fact, if you?re looking for earthworms, scrape back to the bottom layer of leaves and you?ll be amazed.

Read the rest at Gardening Channel
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