Breaking News
More () »

Why you shouldn’t rake the leaves in your yard this fall

Conservation experts are reminding folks of the benefits of not raking up leaves this time of year.

MAINE, USA — Fall is leaf raking season for many of us here in Maine, but some say you can put the rake away and relax. 

The fallen leaves can actually benefit lawns and even wildlife, according to Andrew Tufts of Maine Audubon

"The worst thing to do with leaves is bag them up and send them to a landfill," Tufts said. 

Many species make habitats out of leaves once they are on the ground, Tufts explained. Insects such as caterpillars use the leaves as cover during the winter. Salamanders and frogs also rely on leaves for protection. 

As for your lawn, a layer of leaves can insulate the ground and prevent it from drying out and freezing too fast. Leaves also provide your yard with important nutrients. 

“On a lawn, two inches is probably too thick, but what you’d naturally have from leaves falling is something under an inch typically," Tufts said. "It's actually shown to be beneficial. When you rake them off in the springtime, you’ll notice that it’s often greener than the areas that are exposed."

If you live in a community where leaving leaves on your lawn isn’t an option, Tufts has some ideas for you. 

“Rather than leaf blowing them all away, I’d say rake them into your garden beds," he said. "Use them as garden mulch. Ideally, for any trees that you have on a lawn, put the leaves around the trees because it’s not ideal to have grass growing underneath where all of its roots are anyways."

More NEWS CENTER Maine Stories

Before You Leave, Check This Out