It’s been a busy week.
Today’s topic is Lawn “Care,” since it’s that time of year again! You know, the leaves are falling and people are spending hours outside picking them up only for more to fall on their lawns.
But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to waste your Saturdays raking leaves. Leave the leaves. They’re good for your lawn.
Trust me, leaves were falling off of trees and covering the forest floor long before humans came around, got rid of forests, and started planting grass under the trees and then removing the leaves. And you know what? Those fallen leaves didn’t kill the forests. In fact, those fallen leaves promoted the health of the plants on the forest floor.
When leaves fall from trees, it’s because the leaves are dead and the tree is getting ready to sleep through the winter. The dead leaves fall to the ground, covering your ~beautiful~ lawn, so you think “well, I better get rid of those so my lawn can be beautiful a little while longer.” But then your beautiful lawn gets all cold and unhappy over the winter, which isn’t good for it.
So in the spring, you have to do fertilizer and stuff to make it beautiful again.
Which is bad for the environment.
BUT if you just accept the fact that leaves fall off the trees and cover your lawn and make it not as beautiful a few weeks earlier and don’t spend a bunch of time removing leaves only to have more fall on your lawn (like you’re literally doing manual labor that will be completely worthless by the following Saturday), those dead leaves can help your lawn be happier and healthier in the coming spring.
How, you may ask, do they make it healthy and happy?
Well, friends, let me tell you.
Those leaves are like a blanket for your lawn during the colder months. Since they’re covering the lawn, the grass’ roots aren’t getting as cold as they would in winter without the leaves. You like having a blanket in the winter, right? So why wouldn’t you allow your grass the same pleasure?
And then, as the winter progresses and the dead leaves begin to decompose, they add nutrients back into the soil, which nourish your grass so that when spring comes again, you have beautiful healthy grass that’s been nourished by the death of your trees’ leaves.
You can even help that process along by going over your yard with a lawnmower when about half of the leaves have fallen from your trees. This will make the bottom layer made of the first half of your leaves which you’ve ground up with your lawnmower decompose easier, while allowing the second layer made up of the leaves to act as the blanket, keeping your grass warm through the winter.
The same thing works with grass clippings throughout the warmer seasons. If you leave the clippings, they will decompose, putting nutrients back into the ground and making your grass healthier and happier and thus more beautiful.
So save yourself the manual labor and leave your leaves (and grass clippings) to nourish your lawn!
ALSO, leaving your dead leaves on the ground creates homes for cute little animals to live in, like box turtles and chipmunks, and gives butterfly pupae a place to grow through the winter, which means your lawn will sprout beautiful butterflies in the spring (well, the caterpillars that don’t get eaten by birds will become beautiful butterflies–they can’t all be so lucky).
More information that has sciencey words available here:
The Fierce Feminist