“And the leaves that were green turned to brown.” ~ Simon and Garfunkel
It is long past October so there should be little worrying about the proliferation of leaves in the yard. Come the autumn season, everyone who has property with deciduous leaves/conifer needles pulls out the rake, leaf blower and/or lawn mower with a leaf-vac and removes the detritus. Is there anyone reading this Blog who “leaves” the leaves…perhaps hoping the wind blows them unto the neighbor’s yard or somewhere deep into the woods?
I slowly raise my hand. We live on 20 acres and the oak trees provide us with tons of annual leaves and as I write, and as you can see, they still remain where they fell. There are a few good reasons to not spend hours removing leaves:
Watch ground-dwelling birds in the fall and winter as they scratch through the leaves in search of food. The secretive varied thrush forage by seizing dead leaves in their bill and hopping backward to clear a spot of ground before examining it for prey. A handful of dead leaves collected from an oaken forest might contain more than 65 different kinds of insects, spiders and mites, not to mention hundreds of different microscopic fungi, invertebrate animals and bacteria.
While I had always assumed that acid in dead leaves can kill one’s lawn, so far after 25 years, we still have grass growing underneath the leaf piles.
My favorite story of a non-conformist homeowner comes from author Leo Buscalia. The late Dr. Buscalia used to invite his students over to his home once a week for dinner and lively conversation. On one occasion, there was a rap on his door and upon opening, an angry neighbor complained that Dr. Buscalia’s lawn leaves were unsightly and a blight on the neighborhood. Much to the chagrin of his students Leo agreed to the demand…yet when his students visited a week later, they opened his door to find the leaves strewn over his living room floor!
And here’s one final reason!