Written by Chris Omness with West Central Online Files

A staple of the fall season is watching the colour change in the leaves. It adds beauty, and a sense of visual flavour to any area, especially one with many trees. However, while the sight may be breathtaking at first, it later leads to one of the more tedious household chores of the Fall season; raking them up. 

Fortunately, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has some advice that can make raking leaves a little easier: 

Just don’t do it. 

While some may say that this is no more than an excuse to be lazy, the NCC gives the reassurance that keeping fallen leaves on the lawn is a small form of conservancy. There are several species of insect, as well as frogs and toads that hibernate in the winter, and have adapted to use the leaves themselves as a hibernation spot. 

Leaves can also be mulched with a mower and spread throughout the lawn, which improves the quality of the soil. A mower doesn’t even need to be involved, as leaves can naturally mulch themselves, with a light layer improving the health of gardens and lawns. 

Even birds can find a benefit in a few extra leaves lying about. Fruits and seeds left on flowers and shrubs are a crucial food source that sustains many songbirds during the winter, including goldfinches, jays and chickadees.  

Now while one of the most popular things to do with a bunch of fallen leaves is to gather them in a pile and let the kids (and sometimes dogs) jump through them, a large pile will actually have a negative effect on the lawn if left out for too long. If a big leaf pile is on the schedule this season, make sure to either clean it up or spread the leaves out once everyone’s done playing.