Leave the Leaves

Why leave the leaves? The habit of raking leaves off your lawn and away from your garden beds turns out to be unnecessary, depriving your soil of enrichment and overwintering habitat for many creatures.

Best practice: Leave some leaves on your lawn and let them blow into your garden beds, where they will decompose over the winter, enriching your soil far better than a bag of mulch. Push the excess into a corner of your yard. Your plants, and the salamanders, toads, and butterflies will thank you too.

Good: Shred your leaves with your mower and leave them on your lawn and in your garden beds. Really.

OK: Use a vacuum blower/shredder to collect and shred excess leaves, and a bin to keep them handy for adding to your compost bin.