If you haven’t had the chance to rake up the piles of leaves in your backyard this fall, you can leave them be.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) – the country’s leading conservation group – says that leaves are very beneficial to backyard wildlife during the winter months, and that’s why we should think twice before raking them up.
“If you haven’t raked your lawn yet, you can leave it until spring,” said Andrew Holland, a spokesperson for the NCC, told Daily Hive.
Holland explains that layers of leaves serve as shelter to wildlife such as frogs, insects, toads, moths, and butterflies during the cold winter months.
“They use our yards as a temporary habitat. It keeps them warm and they hibernate under the insulation of the leaves.”
While the thought of creating a habitat for bugs may sound gross, Holland says that we need to remember they are an important part of our eco-system.
“Some people say they don’t like insects, but these insects are a food source for other animals.”
Holland said that the leaves have a positive impact on native pollinators and the fruits and seeds in these leave piles also server as a source of food for bird populations.
The leaves also act as a natural mulch that will fertilize your lawn and save you some money when spring arrives.
If you’re not a fan of leaving your leaves on your lawn, Holland says that you can put them in your garden, which also benefits plants and shrubs.
However, Holland reminding Canadians to clean up leaves near their storm drains to prevent flooding. You’ll also want to check out your municipality’s rules about raking. In Vancouver, “raking or blowing leaves onto the street is a fineable offence, up to $10,000.”
And be sure to pick all leaves from your lawn before spring, because if left out too long, they can create yellow spots on your grass.