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You do not have to rake leaves

December 8, 2023 10:08 AM

Did you fall behind in your leaf-raking this Fall? Stressed about getting the leaves raked before the first snow?

Don't fret!

A layer of leaves is actually good for the environment. Savannah Donovan, Environmental Program Manager at Anita Purves Nature Center, shares some information about leaving the leaves on the ground.

"You can move the leaves to places in your yard where they are out of the way, will not kill your turf, and will still help wildlife. A thin layer of leaves can actually help turf—but too much will kill the grass. Consider raking leaves into areas around trees or use them as winter mulch for perennials or to cover garden beds. A thick layer of leaves in your garden beds helps minimize weed problems early in the spring and can be a great soil amendment," Donovan shared.

Wildlife also like leaves. Shrews, chipmunks, toads, insects, moths and other pollinators use leaves as cover. Birds even feed on the wildlife hiding under the leaves. 

Donovan encouraged everyone to participate. She said, "You might choose to let your neighbors know what you are doing so that they know you are not just being lazy. Wildlife, and the insects that support them, need places to live year-round. Home landscapes can provide lots of opportunities for habitat."

People can find out more about the befit of leaving leaves on the ground online at


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