Why You Should Not Rake Your Leaves

Why You Should Not Rake Your Leaves

Ella Ward

People should put down their wallets and their rakes right now! There is a more effective, less expensive, and environmentally friendly way to take care of the fallen leaves. Instead of spending a large amount of money on a professional or doing it ourselves and having to make it a chore, we could avoid the activity.


In the US, the average yard size is 10,871 square feet. For the average yard size, people are spending over $300 to clean up the area. Another spending loss Americans encounter is mulch. When people rake the leaves away, they are removing the natural benefit of gardens and lawns. Mostly, mulch would be a replacement for the natural benefit. Hardwood and dyed mulches usually cost around $30 to $36 per yard ($3 to $6 per bag) and mulch made from cedar or cypress trees can cost around $40 to $47 per yard ($4 to $7 per bag).


Another rising issue, wildlife depends on the leaves. Butterflies and songbirds depend on leaf litter. Over the winter, butterflies as caterpillars are in the leaf litter. By raking the leaves, we are ruining the whole population of butterflies we would otherwise see in our yards. Without the insects in our leaf litter, we risk driving away the bird population. Birds may come in our yards, searching for bugs to feed on. However, when they don’t find any fuel, they will most likely not move into our yards in the Spring with their chicks.


Food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away. So, letting your leaves decompose is a major time-saver.  There are many fears that not raking the leaves will kill the lawn if it is still growing, but the lawn is usually dormant over the winter. Leaves tend to decompose over the Spring.


“Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own?”



Tenth grader, Jenna Harding, claims, “We put them in a bag and then burn them because we don’t want to throw them in the trash.”


In conclusion, instead of raking the leaves, people should let them decompose as it is healthier for the environment. Even if the leaves take up space, the garden is a magnificent place to store them. When added to the garden, leaves feed earthworms and beneficial microbes, they lighten heavy soils and help sandy soils retain moisture, and they make a great replacement for mulch in the flower garden.