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Here is why it is best not to pick up your dead leaves

Here is why it is best not to pick up your dead leaves
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Do you go through the arduous task of raking up, collecting and getting rid of the dead leaves on your property?

Ahh! Autumn, the beautiful colors, the temperature just a little colder, but perfect for long hikes in the forest, what a beautiful season is it not?

Autumn also makes us think that we need to prepare our ground for the winter, cut the flowers, close the pool, prepare the shrubs and ... collect and remove all the leaves? Raking leaves? Well, actually, no.

Did you know that some trees lose their leaves before they change colors due to a lack of water? Did you know that dead leaves protect many small insects during the winter?That these dead leaves provide a significant source of food for many birds?

People who hate to pick up dead leaves, as I do, will be happy to learn that it is better not to pick them up for the following reasons.

Raking leaves?

Andrew Holland, spokesperson for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, invites us not to pick up our leaves this fall. But why?

According to Andrew Holland, leaving our dead leaves on the ground would be the right thing to do. These dead leaves are used to create a natural habitat for small critters during the winter, did you know this?

Butterflies, moths and many other insects that can take shelter under the layer of dead leaves will take refuge under it to protect themselves from the cold. It is a perfect habitat for them during the winter. When spring arrives, these insects will become a source of food for the birds; it's the perfect cycle of life.

A black-headed chickadee. Photo credit: Francis Bordeleau-Martin

The gardens

Did you know that you could help birds survive the winter by not cleaning your garden at the end of the summer? Dan Kraus, a biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, says that the fruits and seeds that stay on the flowers and shrubs provide essential food for many small birds! Goldfinches, jays, chickadees and other small birds like these will benefit from this food.

But what to do for my gutters?

So then, what to do with the leaves that may be clogging our gutters? Andrew Holland proposes to move these dead leaves and place them under bushes and even under hedges.

Did you know that these dead leaves provide good mulch for the shrubs and help prevent the freeze/thaw cycle of roots during the winter?

Scott's Canada, which specializes in lawn care, strongly recommends using a lawnmower to shred the dead leaves, then mulch them and apply this nitrogen-rich fertilizer for a great lawn next season.

Fall leaves in autumn. Photo credit: CBC/Sébastien Vachon

Composting dead leaves

Some cities offer their citizens the service of collecting their dead leaves and then compost them. Many people also choose to compost them themselves.

Collect your dead leaves from the alleys, entrances, your gutters, but if you have the chance to leave some under your shrubs, at the foot of your hedges, at the foot of perennials and crops that remain in the same place for several seasons or an extended period, such as strawberries and squash, it's the right thing to do!

Photo credit: iStock/iStock

Source: Radio-canada
Photo Credit: Radio-canada

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