If I know you, you can't stop helping pollinators — planting a butterfly garden, getting your yard off grass, signing the Monarch Manifesto and more. Well, you won't believe what I want you to do (or not do) now...
DO NOT rake your leaves! (Because butterflies begin in leaves, as larvae.)
Those brown, dead leaves are the planet's butterfly nursery. They're home to butterfly larvae, microbes and worms. And leaf litter is where many species of butterflies and moths overwinter as pupae. Animals like toads, shrews and salamanders benefit from leaf litter to hide and hunt, too.
This fall, let your rake collect only dust.
Can't leave all of your leaves where they fall? Here are a few other ideas:
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Mulch leaves in your planter beds
Does your homeowner's association have something against leaves? Rake leaves off the lawn and into your planter beds.
Mulch leaves on your lawn
Use your mower to mulch leaves on the lawn and improve your lawn health by suppressing weeds and fertilizing the soil.
Collect browns to compost
Composting 101 tells us to balance "greens" with "browns." Store leaves in a bin and add them to your backyard composter throughout the winter months.
Craft with leaves
Have children collect their favourite leaves in your yard and throughout the neighbourhood and try your hand at nature weaving. Make a natural loom or craftiments.
Note: DO rake leaves out of sewers and drainage pathways.
Have you been able to break your leaf-raking habit?
Sincerely, Lindsay Coulter
A fellow Queen of Green