Stop! Don’t Rake Leaves this Fall!'s featured image

Stop! Don’t Rake Leaves this Fall!


Autumn’s palette of red, yellow and orange transform trees into art, until they fall. Then they just spread across lawns, sidewalks and city streets before making it into bags for city-wide collection. Over the past few years, this tradition has been questioned. To rake or not to rake? Expert opinions seem united, the consensus: don’t rake. The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) outlines three important reasons.

Raking Leaves Disrupts Habitat

While it may seem harmless, raking leaves can destroy what certain species need to survive, think: squirrels, chipmunks, box turtles, and toads to name a few. “The leaf layer is its own mini-ecosystem,” the NWF says. “Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer to find food and other habitat.”

Raking Leaves Disrupts a Healthy Garden

According to NWF naturalist, David Mizejewski, “Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. Why spend money on fertilizer when you can make your own?”

Raking Leaves Disrupts Butterflies

Possibly the most compelling reason of the three, environmental activist and science broadcaster, David Suzuki says it best. “Those brown, dead leaves are the planet’s butterfly nursery. They’re home to butterfly larvae, microbes and worms. Leaf litter is also where many species of butterflies and moths overwinter as pupae.”


If you can’t leave the leaves where they fall, check out this article for other ways to deal with fallen leaves:

Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash