Fall Leaves Benefit our Environment: Don’t Get Rid of them


Courtesy of USA Today

Did you know raking up your leaves and disposing of it can lead to the release of methane gas?

Zaysha Akina-Mahoe, Staff Reporter

It’s fall season, and people are resorting to raking their colorful yard full of leaves. However, according to experts, getting rid of the leaves on your lawn is not the right way to manage your fall leaves. For various reasons, leaving leaves on your lawn will benefit not only your yard but the rest of the environment

First of all, according to EPA data, yard waste took up about 34.7 million tons of waste in 2015, or in other words, 13% of waste accounted for. After state programs that composted some waste, there were still 10.8 million tons of waste, in other words, 7% of all landfill waste. David Mizejewski, a naturalist at the National Wildlife Federation said, “The worst thing you can do is put (leaves) in bags and send them to landfills.” He added saying that leaves break down with other organic waste that creates methane which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Secondly, leaves are natural and free fertilizers for yards. Dan Sandon, a postdoctoral researcher of turfgrass at the University of Minnesota, said, “Leaves cover uproot system, preserve soil moisture, suppress weeds and other plants. They also slowly break down and… return nutrients to plants.” However, Sandon advised that if there are large piles of leaves in yards, then it would be better to mow over the leaves about once a week.

Lastly, animals depend on leaf litter. Mizejewski said, “Over winter months, a lot of butterflies and moths as pupa or caterpillar are in the leaf little, and when you rake it up, you are removing the whole population of butterflies you would otherwise see in your yard.” Raking leaves away will contribute to the decline of essential wildlife.

According to scientists, leaving leaves in your yard is a perfectly natural system where nothing is wasted in nature. They continue to research and advise the public of the advantages of leaving leaves in yards.