Leaving leaves: A green alternative to raking NC yards
Friday, October 6, 2023
As fall approaches, North Carolinians are gearing up for their annual task of raking leaves. However, a survey conducted by the National Wildlife Federation found many people don't realize how much this common chore may actually harm the environment and wildlife.
According to Charlotte Glen, manager of the North Carolina State University Extension Master Gardener program, instead of buying mulch for landscaping, chopping up and using leaves offers the benefits of moisture absorption in a way that's friendly to the local ecosystem.
"It keeps the nutrients cycling through the system," she said. "Also, as the leaves decompose, they add organic matter to the soil, so they help improve your soil over time. And they feed a huge network of all types of organisms."
Glen said fireflies that are typically out in the summer depend on this leaf layer. The "Leave the Leaves Report" found that more than 70% of people know that fallen leaves and leaf layers are beneficial to wildlife and biodiversity - but only 25% of them leave their leaves where they fall. However, about 80% say they're open to doing this to benefit soil health and wildlife.
In addition to helping the environment, leaving leaves on the ground can also help reduce waste. The report said more than half the people who rake, remove or leaf-blow are throwing their leaves away. Around 14% said they toss 10 or more bags of leaves into the trash per year.
National Wildlife Federation naturalist David Mizejewski said putting them in bags for disposal is not the answer.
"Bagging them up and sending them to the landfill actually is a really bad thing," he said. "It really contributes some really nasty greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that are a piece of climate change."
Instead, he said, running over the leaves with a mower will help add the organic matter to your lawn. Many states such as North Carolina have taken action to keep yard waste out of landfills. According to the U.S. Composting Council, 17 states have yard debris bans in place.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…
A new report finds some Missouri laws and prospective laws are perceived as discriminatory regardless of their actual intent - and it outlines some bi…
By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Joyce Foundation-Public News Ser…
By Claire Carlson, John Upton and Kaitlyn Trudeau for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Oregon News Service for the Public …
A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …
As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing …
A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation…
With Pennsylvania's primary election less than 60 days away, a nonpartisan group is stepping up the pace to educate people on voting by mail and by …