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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

More MA homeowners open to leaving leaves where they fall

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Monday, October 2, 2023   

Autumn leaves will soon be falling, and a growing number of homeowners in Massachusetts are willing to leave them on the ground.

A new survey from the National Wildlife Federation finds a majority of people recognize the vital habitat a leaf layer provides for moths and insects - which birds need to survive.

NWF Naturalist David Mizejewski said leaves also help suppress weeds and improve the quality of soil.

"Sounds an awful lot like mulch and fertilizer," said Mizejewski, "but we've been trained by the garden industry to get rid of all the leaves and then go buy mulch and fertilizer."

Mizejewski said keeping even some of the leaves on the ground reduces the amount of yard waste in landfills, where they produce methane - a potent greenhouse gas.

Still, the survey finds many homeowners simply prefer the look of a freshly raked lawn while others are required to remove leaves by their homeowners' association or municipality.

Karen Daubmann - director of garden and programs with the Massachusetts Horticulture Society - said if they have to be off the lawn, transferring a layer of leaves just a few inches deep into the garden provides numerous benefits.

"You'll notice more worm activity," said Daubmann. "You'll notice that over time, the soil is a little bit lighter and fluffier and easier to manage. Typically, a little bit better drainage as well."

Daubmaan said a more natural lawn and garden with leaf mulch also means a little less work in the fall and a lot more wildlife to enjoy come spring.





Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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