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