More MA homeowners open to leaving leaves where they fall
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.
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