The state of Maryland has an abundance of trees, so much so that if the neighborhoods were left alone, they would shortly return to dense forest. With so many trees come so many leaves, and whether or not to rake them has become a point of contention in recent years. Some argue that raking the leaves is detrimental to the environment, while others say it supports lawn health. What is the answer? Let’s take a look at this complex issue.
Why Not Rake the Leaves?
Numerous environmental experts say that raking leaves is wasteful and detrimental for all. They report that much of the leaves put in landfills rot and can take up nearly 10% of landfill space, where real waste should go. Fallen leaves are precious commodities for lawns and gardens, and each species has rich nutrients to add back into the ground. Fall leaves are also nature’s mulch, insulating grass and plant roots in the winter. Moreover, dead leaves may host butterfly eggs that hatch in spring, and getting rid of these can deplete the ecosystem.
When to Rake Leaves
No one can deny the fact that leaves offer free nutrients and protection for your ground, but there is still a time to rake the leaves. Those who say this fall cleanup task is necessary are also right, but especially so when the leaves begin to compact and smother the grass. Fungi and pests can house in dense leaf matter as well, which is why it is better to remove them.
How to Use Fall Leaves in the Garden
How can regular people use fall leaves in their garden? If they replace store-bought mulch, the next question is how well they act as mulch. They are excellent material, but you’ll have to process them first before dumping them on your garden beds. Different methods exist, including shredding them with a lawnmower, leaving them in a compost pile, and using them in a lasagna garden. At the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt if you have some leaves left over on the lawn, but raking them up lets you jump in the leaf piles.
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