You've been killing yourself and your back trying to rake up all the fallen leaves. Biologists say it isn't necessary, so put that rake down and go chill.

Why Rockfordians Shouldn't Rake Their Leaves This Year

Really smart people from the National Wildlife Federation, people who I've come to love recently, say it's counterproductive to rake up our leaves.

  • Free fertilizer and mulch. Fallen leaves form a mulch layer that supresses weeds and as they decompose, and will add tons of nutrients to the soil.
  • Wildlife habitat. That layer of leaves provides shelter and food for many wildlife species
  • Butterflies. Attached to many of those leaves are butterfly and moth pupae and they'll give you butterflies in the spring. Additionally, say goodbye to birds singing in your yard. Those birds use caterpillars to feed their babies.
  • Reduce pollution. Reduce Pollution. Gas leaf blowers and the trucks used to haul them away cause pollution. So does artificial fertilizer run-off, which is contributing to the largest 'dead zone' on Earth in the Gulf of Mexico. There is no run-off from leaf fertilizer.

If you have to rake them up, it's recommended you compost them or donate them to a community garden, not let them go to a landfill.

To see more of the benefits of leaving your yard un-raked, click here.

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