All the brilliant, picturesque foliage you’re enjoying right now will inevitably end up in your yard. While too many leaves may smother your lawn and flower garden, you may want to think twice before raking it all up.
Fallen leaves contain a summer’s worth of nutrition that could return to the soil if you let it decompose. A nice layer of leaves also insulates the ground, limits soil erosion and provides a safe haven for beneficial fungi and bacteria. Insects, including caterpillars, overwinter in leaf litter, and besides emerging as beautiful butterflies and moths in the spring, they also provide a helpful winter-time snack for chilled songbirds. You don’t have to leave all those leaves scattered on the ground, but depositing them in an unused mulch patch or empty garden might ensure a Spring full of healthy plants, songbirds and butterflies.