Leave Your Leaves Alone
Fall has arrived and with it trees are slowly shedding their leaves in preparation for winter. Our yards are becoming littered with dead leaves that ruin the aesthetic of our yard and just plain get in the way. But, scientists are now pleading with citizens to leave those leaves alone. They are asking us to throw down our rakes and let the leaves fall where they may. Why do they want to keep us from simply tidying up like we always do?
Scientist Randall Hitchin from the University of Washington Arboretum says that dead leaves are crucial to our ecosystem. Specifically, they serve as homes for many beneficial insects such as earthworms. Raking your leaves changes the habitat of these insects and puts them at a greater risk of being in danger from other insects, humans, and nature. Many species of butterflies and moths use fallen leaves as protection during winter. If we put these beneficial insects at risk we are also putting their predators, which are a necessary part of our ecosystem, at risk. They insects they would usually eat will be gone. Many birds, for example, feed their babies these insects.
Have you started raking your leaves yet? Would you consider leaving them be?