Layer of leaves good for the grass, conservation expert says
Park workers use a tractor with a industrial leaf blower to pile up fall leaves at High Park in Toronto on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Published Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:44PM CST
If you’re tired of the annual fall chore of raking and bagging leaves, here’s some good news: you can put the rake down and let the leaves fall.
Cameron Wood, with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, said leaving a layer of leaves benefits insects and birds, as well as lawns.
“It’s everything like being able to recycle nutrients into your lawn to help it grow next year, as well as providing a layer for insects to hibernate underneath through the winter,” Wood said. “And that provides food for migratory birds.”
However, this doesn’t mean homeowners can ignore the mounds of leaves piling up on the grass. Leaving too much, Wood said, could choke the lawn come springtime.
“That might not be what you want so if you can balance it out and have some leaves scattered along it’s a good balance,” he said, adding in an era where carbon emissions is being tightly scrutinized, a lawn with a layer of leaves can act as a carbon sink.
“If we actually allow some of that material to break down within your lawn it will actually go into the soil profile and store the carbon,” he said. “If it’s 100 per cent clean you’re not seeing those benefits.”