Reminder: Keep your leaves!

autumn leaves on tree in Amherst New York
A few days after I took this photo, I was out shoveling the leaves from the sidewalk–I didn’t want anyone to slip if the leaves got wet. Plus, I wanted to capture the leaves to use in my landscape. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Last week, I was trying to get some exercise, walking around my neighborhood, but I just had to stop. The autumn leaves were so beautiful I had to photograph them! As I was meandering, two different strangers stopped to comment on how beautiful the trees were.

But now the leaves are dropping.

Yay!

We gardeners love autumn leaves on the trees and in our gardens!

Here’s a previous article that lists many of the ways you can use autumn leaves in your landscape.

An alternative to gathering the leaves is to simply keep the leaves on your lawn and gardens. That provides habitat for many insects and other invertebrates, according to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Luna moths and swallowtail butterflies disguise their cocoons and chrysalises as dried leaves, blending in with the real leaves. Great spangled fritillary and woolly bear caterpillars tuck themselves into leaf piles for protection from cold weather and predators. 

Less work, better environment! Now go take photos of the beautiful landscape.

autumn leaves on trees in Amherst Ny
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

7 Comments on “Reminder: Keep your leaves!

  1. Whole maple leaves can be left in garden beds and raked up in spring (or left where appropriate) . They provide a natural mulch to protect the plants from winter temperature fluctuations and are a great habitat for beneficial insects to winter over.

  2. I’m a Master Gardener from Western New York. I have a lot of maples on my property, some are Norway Maples which are very prolific . This time of year is a lot of work gathering all the leaves but its like reaping black gold. I use a lawn rake which pulls behind my riding lawn mower it sucks up the leafs and mulches them. When full I dump them into an area where they compost over winter. I make tons of it. I just let nature do its thing. I also noticed over the years that the black spot has just about disappeared.During the summer I leave the grass cuttings on the lawn to help fertilize the lawn.

  3. Hi Nancy, I have never heard that about maple leaves. Most of the trees in our neighborhood are maples and I’ve never had a problem using them in my compost or leaving them on my lawn. Perhaps you’re thinking of maple leaves with tar spot. Read about that here. I hope that helps.

  4. Is this true for all types of leaves? I have heard for example that maple leaves should always be removed, or mulched up… not left on the ground whole anywhere. Misinformation, perhaps?

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