Farm Fact Friday: Uses for Dead Leaves

Happy Farm Fact Friday, everyone! Since it’s that time of year, we’re talking about dead leaves today, and their importance, though they might not seem so at first glance. It’s easy to rake them up without thought, and it may be annoying to have to grab the leaf blower to clear walkways, but they play an important role in the world around us.

Those dead leaves might seem like waste, but they actually provide homes to a slew of critters in the ecosystem, from bugs to pests, who have their own roles and nuances within their local area. They can provide a lot for the ecosystem in forested areas, for instance. Your local bugs and pests can mean good and bad things, depending on the species and how they interact with your area. 

Dead leaves can help give a layer of protection to tree bases and plants, though it can also block sunlight. However, they can keep trees and plants warmer during cold months, and are natural nutrients as they break down (though trapped moist leaves can create other issues like potential for mold and fungi). Mulched leaves (for instance, if you mow your leaves with your lawn instead of bagging them) can act as fertilizer for your green space. They’re also great for compost piles (you can read our article on that here).

You can read more about how dead leaves interact with wildlife here if you’d like to learn more about the topic.

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