Can I just leave fallen leaves on my yard and garden?

Question:

Can I just leave fallen leaves on my yard and garden?

Answer:

Keep Leaves in Place, When Possible

Leaving the leaves alone is a good way to support native pollinators and other insects and wildlife.  These valuable insects rely on the habitat fallen leaves provide, especially over the winter months.  Dead leaves also decompose creating compost that can improve soil structure and fertility.  

Leaves Need to be Managed in Yards to See the Most Benefit

Even with all these benefits, it doesn’t mean that leaves can simply go unmanaged in the lawn and garden.  If nothing is done, layers of fallen leaves can cause damage by blocking out light and smothering plants which can kill them.  Often a little redistribution of the leaf layer to prevent a thick mat of leaves from forming is all that is needed to prevent this type of damage.  Excessively think layers of leaves (greater than 6 to 8 inches) may need to be reduced or removed.  Whenever possible move them to mulched garden areas with fewer leaves or create a compost pile onsite to keep all that beneficial organic matter in your yard.

photo of fall leaves on garden bed Leaving leaves in the garden can be beneficial as long as they are not allowed to smother desirable plants.
Last updated on
March 5, 2022