Drop the rake and step away from your yard! Raking leaves is so last year.

The National Wildlife Federation is calling for you to not rake up your leaves. Just let them fall where they may. I know, you're celebrating that you don't have to go through the dreaded "fall clean-up" now. But there is actually a few reasons why:

  • Putting leaves in landfills is not helping anyone.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, leaves and other yard debris account for more than 13 percent of the nation’s solid waste or 33 million tons a year. Gross!

  • Removing leaves takes away wildlife habitats that you had no idea about. 

It's true! You may think that you are doing good by raking up your leaves, but you are decimating an animal's home. There are plenty of native critters that rely on leaf litter for food, shelter and nesting material.

Here's what the National Wildlife Federation recommends for you to do during the fall clean-up instead of back breaking leaf clearing:

• Let leaves stay where they fall. They won't hurt your lawn if you chop them with a mulching mower.


• Rake leaves off the lawn to use as mulch in garden beds. For finer-textured mulch, shred them first.


• Let leaf piles decompose; the resulting leaf mold can be used as a soil amendment to improve structure and water retention.


• Make compost: Combine fallen leaves (“brown material”) with grass clippings and other “green material” and keep moist and well mixed. You’ll have nutrient-rich compost to add to your garden next spring.


• Still too many leaves? Share them with neighbors, friends, schools and others. Some communities will pick up leaves and make compost to sell or give away.


• Build a brush shelter. Along with branches, sticks and stems, leaves can be used to make brush piles that shelter native wildlife.

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