To Rake or not to Rake: Here is one answer

Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and Legal Counsel.

Raking the leaves of autumn is an honoured Canadian pastime.  But a fierce controversy erupted last week when a nature group (not Nature Canada!) urged Canadians not to rake their leaves. According to this group, leaving the leaves creates habitat for insects, birds and small mammals, and the decomposing leaves nourish the soil with nutrients as well.

Landscape companies disagreed with this recommendation, observing that massed layers of leaves covering lawns deprive emerging grass shoots of light resulting in patchy blotchy-looking lawns.

Both sides of the argument are right.  Luckily, Nature Canada has a solution to this vexing problem.

On a dry autumn day, use your lawnmower and run over the leaf-covered lawn. Preferably a push mower, but electrical and gas mowers clearly do the job as well! The leaves will be chopped up into much smaller bits for easier decomposition and incorporation into the soil; further the leafy bits will not block the sun from reaching grass shoots in the spring.

For those who really must pursue the autumn raking ritual, rake the leaves into your flower and vegetable gardens or under trees and bushes.  Your tomatoes will be tastier and your viburnums more vivacious!


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