Leave the leaves


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As the beautiful fall colors delight us, we Fairfield County suburbanites start to view the falling leaves with a sigh… All that raking or leaf-blowing, and removal, to do.

The good news is, Leave The Leaves! The latest natural science recommendation is to simply let the leaves fall where they may, at least some of them, because insects need to over-winter underneath the leaves (part of their lifecycle) and need this coverage as habitat. It’s a roof over their heads, and a source of warmth through the cold months. Many of our pollinators (bees, butterflies, birds, and insects) are disappearing, and we need them for the health of our planet and to pollinate our food supply. Leaving the leaves is a way to be a good steward of wildlife.

  • Will it hurt my lawn? We know you’re concerned that leaving the leaves will burn or damage your lawn. Actually, the nutrients from composting leaves over the winter will help nourish your yard. In the spring, begin raking the leaves into small piles off the side so the insects have a chance to slowly awaken. When it’s consistently warm, that’s the time to remove the leaves. It’s only when wet, heavy leaf piles remain well into spring that damage can occur.
  • Mow the Leaves? Mowing the leaves into the grass as mulch, as it turns out, is not a good idea. You end up chopping up the insects who are hibernating under the leaves! Please try not to mulch-mow your leaves in autumn or spring.
  • How to make it easy: Leave SOME of the leaves. Right now, the leaves are falling. Different varieties of trees drop their leaves at different times, so if you’re clearing away leaves from your yard now, leave the last of the fallen leaves till spring.
  • And, get fit! Consider using a rake which is good exercise and much quieter than leaf-blowers which pollute the air if gas-powered.


Join us in caring for Norwalk’s pollinators by leaving the leaves. Here’s a helpful link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/QuietOrganicYards/permalink/3425525977535653/?sfnsn=mo 


 Audrey Cozzarin, Mary Verel, and Diane Lauricella of the Norwalk Zero Waste Coalition


George November 2, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Wow! Who is providing the latest science? Now you want to provide blankets for insects? What kinds of insects? Beatles? The ones that give your lawns grubs who eat the roots of your grass? Okay? I guess having to reseed and fertilize will correct that.
You do know that leaving the leaves on the lawn changes the PH if your soil which then needs to be corrected by putting lime on your lawn to combat the PH change?

No thanks! I’ll use my blower and not worry about cold insects or having to put lime down.

Milly November 3, 2020 at 5:53 am

Listening to non-stop leaf blowing all day (every day) during the fall ruins the season. Plus blowing every last leaf off your lawn into the street is not right.

Milbank November 3, 2020 at 7:13 am

Gee, guys. I couldn’t wait for my wife to wake up so I could show her this article why I shouldn’t rake up the leaves and then you two go and ruin it for me! 😢

Alice November 3, 2020 at 8:37 am

Who came up with this bright idea? Most people couldn’t care less about bugs who can hibernate etc under the leaves! Bugs or no bugs you still have to take them at some point! The sooner the better!

Audrey Cozzarin November 3, 2020 at 9:09 am

Beatles and grubs live underground and not under leaves. When the leaves are on the ground, as you would find in undisturbed environments (natural), the PH is the natural PH of the earth. It is lawns that are not natural PH. The science is the science (Biology). The planet has problems–human-caused–and this is one way for humans to allow the insects to continue doing their job which benefits humans in the end.

Regarding ticks, many suburban plantings actually attract ticks. Read up on what will attract them and take those out of your yard. The less we disturb the earth in its natural state, the better we will be.

Many people, faced now with climate change issues, ask what they can do. This is one effort. We live in nature and must protect it. That is the science, something we know instinctively regardless of social pressure to have that perfect lawn.

Justataxpayer November 3, 2020 at 2:37 pm

Meet you half way. I blow leaves from beds onto my lawn then mulch using my mower. In some beds, I’ll blow a little mound or leaves and clear them out in the spring. Lastly, some leaves end up at the lawn dump.

JustaTaxpayer November 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm

If we leave all the leaves alone, there will be a bad ripple impact to our community. For example, incomes of landscaping crews will take a big hit potentially causing an exodus of people from Norwalk. This will close a number of barber shops on Wall Street

Angelina C November 4, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Although some of the above negative arguments seem legitimate from your perspective try expanding your view. Give some thought to the natural world. Is it really that hard to let the leaves remain till early March? And let nature’s creatures have there habitats too! Additionally think of how the leaf blowers contribute to the climate problems with all the pollution it creates (remember it’s not just you using the blowers, multiply it MANY times over..(never mind the horrible noise pollution it creates). For those of you who have children or grandchildren, I’m sure you’d want to leave them a healthy environment. I invite you to think of the MANY various ways we as individuals can contribute to making a better environment and a better world. Each of us can do our part! As a famous person once said “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

William Wrenn November 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm

Leaf blowers pollute the air and create noise pollution all over Norwalk. If you leave the leaves, you not only benefit nature but spare your neighbors from being assaulted by toxic fumes and ear shattering sound. A rake works great when you really need a clean up.

Serafino Carri November 4, 2020 at 6:56 pm

Dear Milbank, thanks for your humor. I think some of the doom and gloom comments around not leaving the leaves need to lighten up a tad.

Dear JustaTaxpayer, really? Ripple effect, was that meant as tongue and cheek? I chuckled, thanks!

Dear Tysen, you are welcome to see the property, sincerely you are welcome. Come with an open mind rather than a preconceived notion. Come say hello and and have a friendly conversation.

Tysen Canevari November 4, 2020 at 8:36 pm

@Justataxpayer What a racially insensitive comment that was. No wonder why you dont sign your name!

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