Leaves are not litter. Relax, enjoy and refrain from sweeping all that magic and beauty away.
Autumn’s here and carpets of colourful leaves are all around as deciduous trees shed their leaves and prepare for winter. Weather conditions and daylight length signal the onset of winter and trees absorb valuable nutrients from their leaves and store them in their roots
Although trees are finished with their leaves, they now go on to serve another very important purpose. Leaf litter serves as vital food and habitat for our wildlife.
It’s not long before a whole range of species are taking advantage of the golden blanket. It provides a warm, safe place to shelter from the elements and serves as a food source for both creatures that eat the leaves and creatures which eat those creatures. Things like Hedgehogs, over wintering moths and butterflies, birds, frogs, ear wigs, woodlouse and much more rely on the fallen golden leaves.
Leaf litter is of course good for us too because biodiversity equals life. Getting all worked up about raking up leaves is not good for your mental health, relax. In areas you do need to rake up the leaves do not discard them. Instead pile them on your garden beds or in the corners of the garden where they might be used by wildlife.
Much of it will be pulled deep underground by earthworms and lots of it will become high-grade compost. Soil quality is extremely important for many reasons and it’s said that there is more life in soil than the rest of the garden. Allowing the nutrients from leaf litter to be pulled down to the soil is one of the best ways to improve its quality.
So, when it comes to the winter clean-up… leave the leaves, Relax and enjoy.