It’s easy to see how important leaves really are to sustaining the natural web of life. Mulch Them Back into Your Lawn or Garden. Leaves aren’t just about being useful to us as humans. By the action of not cleaning our gardens, we are emulating Mother Nature — and she is the best of teachers! Garden leave describes the practice whereby an employee leaving a job—having resigned or otherwise had their employment terminated—is instructed to stay away from work during the notice period, while still remaining on the payroll. Gardening leave, or garden leave, is a term most commonly used in the financial industry in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. What does all of this information mean for your garden? Or, add those shredded leaves to your compost bin. Derek Markham is a green living expert who started writing for Treehugger in 2012. Or make large (3- or 4-foot) circles of chicken wire, 3 feet high, and pile the leaves in them. (You should probably think twice about thick layers of leaves if you have vole problems-voles can burrow under the leaves and wreak havoc in your garden over the winter.) “Don’t Sweep Your Leaves to the Curb! A trick I use in the spring is to brush the remaining leaves under and around my newly emerging plants and perennials. If you grew up in a neighborhood with lots of trees, chances are you had to put in plenty of hours each fall raking them all together, bagging them up, and then sending them off somewhere, most likely to the landfill. Leaves will decompose naturally; as they do, they provide valuable organic matter and build up healthy soil. Katie Vincent, Garden Hotline Educator Fall is iconic—and, sometimes, obnoxious—for the swath of red, orange, yellow and brown deciduous leaves that litter the ground. • Rake leaves off the lawn to use as mulch in garden beds. Rake slower decomposing leaves into an out-of-the-way shrub area You can also contact the coordinators of the local leaf drop-off and ask about getting bags of leaves for free from the event, which I've done before, and which can be an effective and simple ingredient for enriching your soil. Nature's autumn bounty of fallen leaves isn't usually a problem for lawns and gardens, and mulching the ground with them actually helps to feed the soil for a healthier yard. Instead, collect your leaves and create a leaf pile in the corner of your yard, where you can allow them to break down naturally. As a volunteer, she oversees and maintains the nature gardens at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest Audubon property in Massachusetts. Leaves can be a great additive to a home compost pile, and by keeping a pile of it next to the compost, leaves can be used to cover layers of kitchen food waste throughout the winter. Thus, we rake, mow, and blow away every bit of nature that is essential to the survival of moths, butterflies, spiders, and dozens of beneficial arthropods. By on. “Composting to Kill Weed Seeds.” Texas A&M University. Simply alternate layers of shredded leaves with the regular green materials you'd add to your compost pile, such as vegetable and fruit scraps, weeds, grass clippings, and plants that you pull out in your fall garden cleanup, and let it sit over the winter. Our native bees, including bumblebees, also rely on leaf litter for protection. Why You Should Mulch Leaves, Not Rake Them, 7 Ways to Welcome Winter Wildlife Into Your Yard, Don't Bag Leaves! So what is the environmental case for leaving your gardens untouched in the fall? It is comparable to the concept of paid leave of absence at the request of the employer. Studies have shown that it can be extremely beneficial to the health of your lawn to mulch the leaves right into it. When it comes to lawns, if you must keep them clear of leaves in the fall and winter, try opting for raking or using a leaf vacuum to capture whole leaves, rather than shredding them with a mower. What's the Most Environmentally Sound Way to Care for My Lawn? Torii Bottomley asks why the town cannot do more to protect its natural and historical resources. When you’re preparing your garden beds for a new season, don’t rip your plants out of the ground, roots and all.If you do, you’ll be robbing your soil microbes of a good meal and degrading your long-term soil fertility. Leave Leaves for Wildlife. As a homeowner or gardener, you might have asked yourself the question, “What can I do to support our declining local wildlife populations?”. Next spring they will support the chipmunks, turtles, birds, and amphibians that rely on these insects for food. They feed not only earthworms but the many forms of micro-organisms that live in the soil. Fallen leaves have the same weed suppression and moisture retention properties of shredded wood mulch – and they are free! Simply put, when we treat leaves and old plant debris like trash, we are tossing out the beautiful moths, butterflies, pollinators, and insects that we’ll surely miss and worked so hard to attract. Maybe you have also noticed a decline in bees and other beneficial insects and songbirds as well. When an employee leaves your company, either due to redundancy or dismissal, there is plenty of scope for confusion, confrontation and miscalculation.. Understanding the ins and outs of PILONs and garden leave is the first step to ensure you and your employees don’t suffer during the notice period. The leaves will help retain moisture in the soil and add nutrients. In all but the warmest climates, these insects, no matter in what stage they hibernate, use leaf litter for winter cover. isn't the most effective way of getting the most benefits out of them, as sometimes they can really pile up in areas where they may effectively smother a section of the yard, but there are a number of different ways to approach your leaf harvest, depending on your particular situation. This is especially true in a vegetable garden where you … For finer-textured mulch, shred them first. The idea is to leave the leaves and other garden vegetative matter for all the benefits mentioned above. At the end of summer, queen bumblebees burrow only an inch or two into the earth to hibernate for winter. Wet the leaves as you go so they’ll rot. Such efforts will keep insects and other species safe and allow you to benefit from the rich garden gift that falls from the trees above. Looks like there is a thick carpet of them at the bottom too. I leave all leaves in my shade garden and it has done nothing but improve the soil and stop weeds. Indeed, the mixture of chopped leaves and end-of-the-season grass clippings I can collect with my mower's bagging attachment is the best mulch I … But even if you opt to leave fallen leaves in place, that depth will be tough to achieve if your yard is limited to a cluster of ornamental trees. “Garden leave” is a relatively new concept to South African jurisprudence and not provided for in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. However, just leaving the leaves to lay where they fall in the autumn (see what I did there?) You can rake whole leaves into your vegetable garden and leave them there to compost over the season. Shredded leaves improve the structure of garden soil by taking up space between dense particles, such as those found in heavy clay soil. Fallen leaves have the same weed suppression and moisture retention properties of shredded wood mulch—and they’re free! The Bedford 2020 Coalition applauds this effort to improve the health of our local soil and reduce the noise and gas pollution assoc iated with carting leaves away each year. Rake leaves into your empty vegetable garden. Well, we're older and hopefully wiser now, so the idea of removing this important annual input to our local soil biology, and sending it elsewhere, likely to the landfill to be buried instead, doesn't make nearly as much sense now as it might have back before we knew better. Or, rake the leaves into loose piles and run the mower over them to turn them into mulch for perennial and bulb beds. Within two to four weeks, the plant’s new growth hides the remaining leaves. 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L eaving the leaves intact will smother your lawn and encourage fungal diseases. Leave Leaves Alone is a Bedford 2020 Program “Leave Leaves Alone is an important step toward fulfilling Bedford’s Climate Action Plan. Don’t leave fallen leaves in sodden layers on the lawn. The main argument for … Let leaves lie where they land on the garden site, and add to the abundance by dumping more leaves on your future flowerbed. The shade perennials and shrubs thrive. Rake onto a large sheet or tarp, then drag to a corner of your yard to give pollinators some winter cover. However, once decided, I’ve never regretted the choice. Significant as they are for your own garden, the benefits of holding onto your leaves stretch well past your property line. As one plant and soil specialist, Dr. Thomas Nikoai of Michigan State University, put it, leaving the leaves on the lawn is " ... not only not a problem, it's awesome." But this shedding of foliage is more important to our yard’s ecosystem than many of us may believe. These days I use a mower to coarsely shred my leaves, which I then use as winter mulch in the vegetable garden. I hate absolute rules whether it is “leave the leaves” or “don’t leave the leaves” Better to understand the plants and what is going on. According to an interview at Christian Science Monitor, Dr. Nikolai says that by mowing over the fallen leaves to turn them into smaller pieces, the leaves will actually enhance the lawn's fertility, not kill it off. Pile the leaves in a spot where they’re out of the way and won’t blow away. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! To mimic the natural ecosystem, a layer of leaves needs to be at least two inches thick. Then rake it, but take the leaves, and, if you can put them in a corner somewhere, that’s great.” If you do pile your leaves inside flower beds during garden cleanup, be sure to leave a little space around the crowns of any delicate perennials to avoid smothering them. A rubber rake is the very best tool for gathering leaves from lawns, paths and paving, but a spring-tined lawn rake or even an ordinary garden rake can be used. According to National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski, “Fallen leaves offer a double benefit. You planted native plant species and avoided pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Personally, it took me a couple of years to wean myself from this archaic and harmful practice of annual fall cleanup. For whatever reason, we just can’t seem to keep ourselves from wanting to tidy up the garden at the end of the growing season. Fallen leaves, as an additional physical layer of organic materials above ground, provide food, shelter, and nesting or bedding materials to a variety of wildlife, as well as overwintering protection for a number of insects, all of which work together to contribute to a healthy yard. The soil itself is also a beneficiary of this autumnal gift of fallen leaves, as the leaves are essentially composted over time into nutrients that feed both the next year's 'crop' of grass, but which also feed a vast number of microbes in the soil, which are actually the most important 'crop' you can grow, considering that all plant life in your yard depends on a healthy soil biology. Remove weeds, then spread compost or well rotted manure over the soil to insulate plant roots – the worms will work it in over winter. Luna moths and swallowtail butterflies disguise their cocoons and chrysalis as dried leaves, blending in with the real leaves. An extra thick layer of leaves is welcome protection from the elements. You can leave leaves in wooded areas, on mulched areas, under shrubs and around perennials as long as you think of them like mulch: not built up too thickly (3-4” at most” and not piled up against stems and trunks. a good point Susan. Below are some tips on how to minimize the time you spend raking and maximize the benefit to wildlife and the greater environment that fallen leaves offer. Garden leave periods are typically shorter in duration than traditional non-compete periods (six months or less). Catherine Carney-Feldman is a member of the Ipswich Conservation Commission, a senior principle master gardener, owner of Shamrock Acres Environmental Landscape and Design, board member of the Ipswich Humane Group. Another reason to leave the leaves is for the many benefits they provide to your landscape. If none of these uses for fallen leaves work for your situation, you can look into local options for leaf drop-offs, where this yard waste is collected at a central location and then turned into compost and mulch, and although this option does still require raking and bagging, it can keep this potential natural resource out of the waste stream. However, in nature, nothing is immaculate or perfect. Leaves provide valuable organic matter and build up healthy soil. Or you can choose, like me, to “leave the leaves”! The act of cleaning the garden in the fall may be an annual habit, a matter of social and cultural conditioning, or a holdover of outdated gardening practices from yesteryear. Fall Leaves Can Harm Your Garden. If you still decide you need to clean up the garden and remove the leaves in the spring, make sure you wait until late in the spring season, around mid-May, until hibernating insects have had a chance to emerge so as not to destroy all the life you’ve so worked to protect! Besides providing the right native plants and protecting your garden by not using pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, one of the most valuable things you can do to support pollinators, butterflies, beneficial insects, and small vertebrates is to provide winter cover in the form of fall leaves and standing dead plant material. Leaf mold is simply wet leaves that have decomposed into a rich, black, soil-like substance that makes a perfect mulch for plants. Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and at the same time fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. 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