raking leaves - the importance of leaf letter and hand rakes
My giant maple tree is rapidly dropping its leaves this week - as are all of the other trees in my neighborhood. I am very pleased this year because I think I have been hearing fewer leaf blower and more (swwooch swhoosh) hand rakes. Yeah!!! Raking is such a great way to get exercise, enjoy the fall, check out the yard, relax, hang out with the birds, get some sunlight, etc etc. My son is doing a lot of our raking this year, because he seems to need lots of cash and is OK with the rate I pay.
The raked leaves go right into the gardens that border my yard. I will remove them in the spring. Leaves are a perfect natural mulch. My friend Victoria sent me a great article recently about the benefits of using leaves on your gardens. It was from a Grow Native Cambridge newsletter and titled "The Importance of Leaf Litter". Here's are some excerpts:
... as we now prepare our gardens ... for winter, I thought we might reflect on our rather odd and somewhat recently adopted tradition of removing all leaves from our gardens and urban landscapes. It turns out, this is not a particularly ecological or wise thing to do...Numerous species of butterflies overwinter in leaf litter -- either as eggs, larvae or caterpillars, or in their pupal state....Leaf litter is an important part of the soil food web. It provides habitat for numerous insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. It is this balance of many different insects, and of predators and prey, that helps prevent outbreaks of isolated species of insect pests. And all these insects in the leaf litter provide important food for birds. Leaf litter is also habitat for salamanders and toads, and for other larger predators that control insect pests.-Claudia Thompson, Director, Grow Native Cambridge
Here, here!! The leaves look really nice in the gardens, too.