Michigan, I have a very serious question for you.

Why do we rake leaves?

This was the question I was asking myself after spending too much time on Sunday raking, bagging, and hauling leaves around my yard. Four hours and 16 lawn care bags later, the leaves were done; I hated the whole thing. Keep in mind too, that was only for the front yard, which only has one tree. If I never have to rake the leaves again, that'd be great.

This whole ordeal had me thinking...why do we even rake leaves?

Besides the fact that your lawn is clear/clean, is there any benefit? What about burning leaves? As a first-time homeowner, I went in search of some answers to these questions and more. Also, I just don't want to have to rake anymore leaves, so if there's a reason I don't have to anymore...great!

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Here's what I learned on my quest:

Leave those leaves alone!

According to USA Today, raking leaves isn't the greatest for a few reasons:

  1. Yard waste takes up a lot of space in landfills. The EPA reports that in 2015, yard waste trimmings accounted for about 13% of waste generated.
  2. Leaves can be beneficial to your lawn. According to David Mizejewski, a naturalist at the National Wildlife Federation, "Leaves cover up root systems, preserve soil moisture, suppress weeds and other plants. They also slowly break down and ... return (essential) nutrients to plants."
  3. Leaves help your local ecosystems. Caterpillars and moths set up shop in the leaves during the winter. If you rake away all the leaves, where will the caterpillars turn into butterflies?

Here's the catch though...some raking may be required. I know, I know, the whole point of this was not to rake the lawn. But, it is minimal raking. You just want to make sure that there are not sooo many leaves that they smother your lawn. It's all about moderation.

At the end of the day, you've got to do what's best for you.

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