Today’s Solutions: October 19, 2021

Somewhere along the way, much of the rough and tumble beauty of the American landscape turned into cookie-cutter manicured lawns. It’s like homeownership now comes with explicit directions: There will be a white picket fence surrounding a plot of tidy grass; there will be no weeds and there will be no, gasp, fallen autumn leaves. This is problematic for a number of reasons.

One main reason is that all those fallen leaves are highly beneficial for your lawn, acting as natural fertilizer and mulch. By raking all that leaf litter, you not only remove those natural benefits but also leave yourself with the need to buy mulch.

Another good reason to keep all those leaves in place is that butterflies and songbirds depend on those leaves doing the winter. Over the winter months, “a lot of butterflies and moths, as pupa or caterpillar, are in the leaf litter.” By raking, you are destroying moth and butterfly habitat, which means fewer pollinators come spring. And that also means fewer things for birds to eat, which means birds will be less attracted to your garden.

Seldom do you get the chance to be lazy and protect your local ecosystem. Here’s one of those opportunities.

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