Before you rake all those leaves, consider this | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Before you rake all those leaves, consider this

FILE PHOTO - Wish you didn't have to rake those leaves? The Nature Conservancy of Canada has several reasons why you should leave them right where they fell.
October 30, 2019 - 7:00 AM

Last week’s strong winds did their part in stripping local deciduous trees of their fall colours, in many cases leaving local property owners with a yard full of leaves to pick up.

If you’re facing the prospect of some back-breaking yard work, take heart, there are actually some good environmental reasons for leaving those leaves alone.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is offering green advice. They say leaving those leaves on the ground can support backyard biodiversity.

Native insects, including pollinators, could use a little help by having those leaves left on the ground as they provide habitat for many species to hibernate underneath.

Nature Conservancy of Canada senior conservation biologist Dan Kraus says backyard animals such as toads, frogs and others use the leaves as a hibernating blanket that can protect them from extreme cold and temperature fluctuations over the winter.

Leaves can also improve the soil by providing a natural mulch. Thick piles of leaves can impact grass and other plant growth, but a light covering of leaves can actually improve the health of gardens and lawns.

“While it’s great for cities to provide collection programs to compost leaves, the most energy-efficient solution is to allow nature to do its thing and for the leaves to naturally break down in your yard,” Kraus says.

Kraus says plant stalks and dead branches can also provide habitat for many insect species. He says migratory and resident birds can benefit from gardens during the winter, feeding on fruits and seeds left on flowers and shrubs.

“Providing winter habitats for our native birds and insects is just as important as providing food and shelter during the spring and summer,” Kraus says.


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