WATCH: It Turns Out You Really Shouldn't Rake The Leaves in Your Yard
If you've been looking for a way out of one dreaded autumn chore, you're in luck: the National Wildlife Federation is urging people not to rake the leaves in their yards.
While acknowledging that this can provide a temporary eyesore, experts advise homeowners to leave this one to Mother Nature. As one NWF naturalist, David Mizejewski, explained to USA Today, there is a whole pile of benefits to nixing your rake and letting leaves decompose the old fashioned way. If it really irks you (or your neighbors) to leave them where they lay, he suggests rounding them up and use them in place of mulch in your garden. And guess what? It's free!
"Leaves are nature's natural mulch and fertilizer," Mizejewski noted. "When you rake all the leaves away, you are removing that natural benefit to your garden and lawns—then people turn around and spend money to buy mulch."
"Over winter months, a lot of butterflies and moths as pupa or caterpillar are in the leaf litter, and when you rake it up you are removing the whole population of butterflies you would otherwise see in your yard," Mizejewski said.
And without bugs to eat, birds are less likely to move in with their cute little chicks when spring rolls around.
Save money, time, animals and the environment? We'll happily scratch raking off our to-do list!