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article imageNature Conservancy of Canada says — 'Leave the leaves alone'

By Karen Graham     Oct 12, 2020 in Environment
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is giving procrastinating leaf-rakers a great excuse for leaving those fallen leaves in their yards this autumn. Instead, People are being urged to connect with nature while aiding the environment.
"It's a chance to avoid some back-breaking yard work and find some other things to do this weekend, and it is a bit of a tradition," said NCC spokesperson Andrew Holland, according to CTV News Canada.
"Many families like to get out with their kids and others, and work off the turkey, and ham, and mashed potatoes, and earn that yummy stuff, but, uh, we're urging people to find other things to do this weekend."
The NCC's environmentally-friendly advice actually has a lot of science to back it up. And it sure is much better than using the excuse that your back aches or you can't find the rake.
This is a common sight in many neighbothoods.
This is a common sight in many neighbothoods.
Donald Trung Quoc Don (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Holland explains: "People are hearing about climate change and seeing about impacts to nature in different ways and here's something that you can do in your own backyard." He also points out that 80 percent of Canadians are now living in cities and towns, making backyard biodiversity all the more important.
Benefits to backyard biodiversity
Dan Kraus, senior conservation biologist with NCC, told The Weather Network there are three major benefits to keeping the leaves in the yard this fall.
First, not raking the leaves helps biodiversity, according to Global News, by providing a nice cover and protection for insects, frogs and toads, allowing them to sleep snugly during the winter. And, come spring, those leaves will also provide a ready food source for birds, such as robins, as they flip over leaves looking for insects to eat,
A natural mulch layer on garden floor adds nutrients to the soil by sustaining a healthy insect popu...
A natural mulch layer on garden floor adds nutrients to the soil by sustaining a healthy insect population.
Mohan Babu V - (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Secondly, leaving the leaves on the lawn benefits the grass, itself. When the leaves break down into the ground, they provide nutrients for both the soil and the grass. Kraus notes that large, thick piles of leaves can stop the growth of grass, but he says a thin layer of leaves can help in maintaining a healthy lawn and garden.
"Just try leaving a few leaves on your grass. In the summer, you won't notice them. They're completely gone," said Kraus. “One of the biggest opportunities to improve the health of nature in urban areas is through the collective action we can all take in our yards."
Another benefit to leaving the leaves on the ground is the option of using them as a mulch in the garden or arranging them around bushes and flower beds. Doing so will help to prevent the freeze-thaw cycle that occurs in early spring, thereby protecting the roots of your favorite shrubs.
Ozark Trillium Photographed at Ninestone Land Trust  Carroll County  Arkansas.
Ozark Trillium Photographed at Ninestone Land Trust, Carroll County, Arkansas.
Eric Hunt (CC BY-SA 4.0)
"Think of trilliums in the spring [or] all of our wildflowers in the forests. They're able to push up through the layer of leaves. Most garden plants can do that, as well. The leaves are providing benefits to those plants, as well," said Kraus
"This is what is happening in forests around Canada. Maybe thinking about our backyards a little bit more as a place that we can let some nature in. It will help deepen our connection to the natural world," said Kraus.
More about nature Conservancy of Canada, Autumn leaves, raking, connect with nature, environmental benefits
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