Nature organization suggests leaving leaves on your lawn to help fertilize soil, feed animals

Nature organization suggests leaving leaves on your lawn to help fertilize soil, feed animals
A pile of leaves.

As the leaves change colour and fall to the ground, the task of raking leaves has returned.

But instead of ranking them this year, a non-profit nature conservation organization is suggesting that residents leave them in place.

According to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, a non-profit land conservation organization, many native insects including pollinators need the leaves to help hibernate during the winter and leaves can help fertilize the soil.

Samantha Knight, an ecologist and national conservation science manager with Nature Conservancy of Canada, says leaves can help keep animals warm in the winter.

“Many animals, such as toads, frogs, and some moths and butterflies, have adapted to hibernate in the leaf litter,” Knight said in a press release. “The leaves provide an insulating blanket, which can help protect these animals from the cold and temperature fluctuations during the winter.”

Knight also encourages less raking for soil improvement as the leaves break down for a light mulch but suggests not to rake too little, otherwise, the leaves will smother the grass.

“While it’s great for cities to provide collection programs to compost leaves, we might as well allow for the leaves to naturally break down in our yards and fertilize our lawns,” said Knight.

In cities such as Victoria, where rain is seen in larger quantities, raking leaves and cleaning up is necessary to allow drainage, says Knight.

The City of Victoria says they collect around 7,000 tonnes of leaves from over 40,000 trees. They say the leaf collection is necessary to prevent flooding, keep clean streets and boulevards and create quality mulch for City parks and programs.

Victoria has a collection system to collect leaves including a drop-off service, neighbourhood leaf collection or pick-up starting on Oct. 18.

The NCC says if raking is a must to push some into your garden instead to fertilize the soil and protect the roots from the freeze-thaw cycle.

According to Knight, small things like these can help connect urban areas with the surrounding environment.

“There is growing evidence that having a relationship with nature is critical for our health and well-being,” said Knight. “As Canadians, we have some of the planet’s last areas of wilderness, but for many of us and our children, finding that connection to nature starts at home.”

READ MORE: Rainfall warnings issued for east, west coasts of Vancouver Island

Justin WaddellJustin Waddell

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