Four reasons NOT to rake up your leaves
This is part a series of columns prepared by the staff at the award winning West Seattle Nursery. The Nursery offers an array of trees, shrubs, bedding plants, garden supplies, decor and gift items. They are located at 5275 California Ave SW and you can find them online at https://www.westseattlenursery.com
Good news, gardeners! Here’s a gardening tip that involves less work, not more.
Instead of bagging fall leaves or dumping them into the yard waste bin, just rake them into your garden beds.
Sounds kind of lazy, doesn’t it? But this minimal approach to fall clean up has definite benefits for the environment and your garden.
- Leaves help retain rainwater on your property.
During the summer, soil dries out and becomes hydrophobic, meaning that it repels water rather than absorbing it. That’s why water tends to bead up and run off at the beginning of the rainy season. Instead of replenishing the ground water, it heads for the storm drain.
When rain falls on layers of leaves it doesn’t run off. It coats leaf surfaces, and over time, that water gradually seeps into the soil at a rate it can absorb. As drought becomes more common, strategies like this will become more important.
- Layers of leaves protect the soil. The constant pelting of raindrops compacts the soil, which makes it even harder for it to absorb water.
- As leaves decay, they return vital nutrients to the soil.
- Leaves create habitat for wildlife. That includes small mammals and birds. Pollinators like butterflies, moths, and some native bees can find shelter for their larvae or eggs.
There you have it, all the excuses you need to skip bagging up those leaves!