Michigan: Should You Bag Your Leaves or Just Leaf ’em on the Ground?
Anyone else not have the motivation to rake up leaves and lug lawn bags to the side of the road for pickup? Turns out, you may be doing the environment a favor.
Keeping Leaves Out of Landfills
Each year, about 8 million tons of leaves are put in landfills. Melissa Hopkins with the National Audubon Society tells NPR that keeping leaves out of landfills can have a significant benefit to your lawn.
"A lot of people think that when leaves fall, you need to really quickly scoop them up and get rid of them," Hopkins says. "We think about leaves as vitamins. They are free vitamins that naturally occur in your yard."
Julie Batty, the land stewardship manager for Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids agrees.
“Leaves are not litter. Leaves are just a natural thing that happens,” Batty tells Fox 17. “If you've got a relatively thin layer of leaves, that's okay. The sun can still get through there.”
Don't Let Leaves Block the Sun
Batty goes on to say that a thin layer of leaves is healthy and biodegradable but also cautions that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. She warns that if you have so many leaves that they turn into a thick, mushy layer, they can block out the sun.
Batty and Hopkins recommend using a lawnmower to mulch leaves so the sun can penetrate the leaves.
Hopkins notes that no one is going into the forest to rake leaves. She recommends that anyone who thinks leaves are an eyesore should try to think about it differently.
"Instead of this perfectly manicured, untouchable space, think of it as this living, breathing habitat," she says.