Should You Leave the Leaves?

Honeysuckle Nursery & Design Leave the Leaves

Every fall, many people head outside to rake up the fallen leaves on their property and dispose of them—but should you leave the leaves instead?

Fall is closing in, and with it comes the promise of many autumn traditions—pumpkin spice, Halloween, and the annual raking of the leaves. It’s a task as old as time. The leaves look beautiful as they fall, but everyone hoping to keep a pristine lawn throughout the cold seasons will step outside to collect all of their leaves into a pile that will either be burned, shredded, or packed into plastic trash bags and dumped into a landfill. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is estimated that the generation of yard trimmings in municipal solid waste (MSW) was 35.4 million tons in 2018. This accounts for 12.1 percent of MSW generation in total. Aside from lowering the overall MSW generation, there are several benefits to foregoing this tradition and choosing to keep the leaves around through the winter season.

Free Mulch

Leaf litter has excellent weed suppression and moisture retention properties, which means the trees are providing free mulch for your lawn and garden every year. Many people wrongly assume that leaving the leaves on the ground will damage their grass and plants when the opposite is true. These leaves will minimize weed growth in the following seasons, keep your greenery moist, and break down into a healthy natural fertilizer for your lawn and garden come spring.

When it comes to leaf litter, there can be too much of a good thing. Natural ecosystems benefit from leaf litter that is around 2” deep, but this much coverage can be too dense for most standard turf lawns. A thin layer is highly beneficial, but if the layer is too deep, consider raking or using a specialized leaf vacuum to avoid damaging the leaves. Once they’re gathered, you can put them in piles around your trees, shrubs, and perennials without issue.

Benefits Wildlife

According to the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF), many animals, including turtles, toads, birds, mammals, and invertebrates, use leaf litter in various ways such as a source of food and shelter. Many pollinators overwinter or lay their eggs in leaf litter to keep them sheltered through the cold months. When leaf litter is shredded, burned, or bagged and tossed, it is taken away from wildlife that need it to survive and thrive. If you have put effort into making your landscaping wildlife-friendly, leaving the leaves is a great option that helps to maintain a positive impact on your local environment.


At Honeysuckle Nursery and Design, you will get construction and maintenance crews on site who have a minimum of 10 years of experience in all types of landscaping and hardscaping. Our designers will work closely with you to understand how you want to use your space so that we can make the most of your entire site. We are committed to providing complete customer satisfaction and will work with you along every step of the way to be sure that you are happy with your new trees. Please be sure to visit our gallery page for unique, creative designs and inspiration!

Whether you live in Anne Arundel or Howard Counties, we can help you experience your dream space in Annapolis, Davidsonville, Millersville, Ellicott City, Clarksville, Columbia, and surrounding areas. We specialize in Landscape Design & Maintenance, Swimming Pools, Hardscape, and Natural Stone, Water Features, Outdoor Living Spaces, and more! Dream, Create, Experience with Honeysuckle Nursery & Design by calling 410-849-5119 or email us to schedule your free no-obligation estimate today. Follow us on FacebookTwitterHouzz, and YouTube!

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2022 at 2:07 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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