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Leave your leaves, garden experts say
HALIFAX -- Falling leaves this time of year are quite the site, but raking them up is no easy chore.
"It's harder when you get older and I'm getting old," says Cam Reid.
But there's good news for those hoping to skip the yard work this season: leaving the leaves may be good for your back -- and your lawn.
"There's a new campaign called 'Leave the Leaves,' and it encourages homeowners to leave the leaves on their lawn," said gardening expert Niki Jabbour. "Leaves are just garden gold for the gardener. In my vegetable garden, I use them as mulch whether in the winter, spring, and summer. Also I turn them into leaf mold compost, which is a dark, rich compost which you can use to grow better vegetables, better flowers."
Putting away that rake this fall isn't just easier on your body, it's good for your grass, too.
"Leaves are a natural source of fertilizer for the soil and they also serve as mulch to suppress weeds, so why pay for fertilizer and mulch when you can get it free falling from the trees," says Stephen Hazell of Nature Canada.
Environmental groups are asking people to put away their rakes as a small act of nature conservancy.
From birds to insects, leaves are a big benefit to backyard biodiversity
"Having leaves on your lawn provides habitat for a lot of butterflies or moths that lay eggs or overwinter in there, so they'll come back again the next year," Jabbour says.
Helen Rivers-Bowerman thinks it's a great idea.
"I think it makes it easier, and if there's an environmental benefit to it, I don't think there's anything wrong with it," Rivers-Bowerman said. "Although, I can see it being difficult, wanting to respect your neighbours and seeing everyone else clean their leaves up."
Some don't buy in to the new advice.
"I still like to get out and rake my leaves," said Andrew Bergen. "It just feels like it's part of closing up your yard for the season."
If you are considering leaving your leaves, garden experts say the trick is to spread them around so that large piles won't smother the grass or block sunlight.