National Wildlife Federation Recommends Not Raking Leaves

Autumn leaves are starting to fall and the National Wildlife Federation recommends leaving them alone.

Scientists said dry, dead leaves are important habitats for butterflies, worms, turtles and other critters. East Texas' Wilhite Landscaping owner James Wilhite said lawns should still be kept up, though.

"Leaves are a very important part of our ecosystem and its got a place in the forest and you may have a natural area in your yard where you'd like to set up habitat," says owner James Wilhite. "In the middle of your lawn may not be the best place for habitat for wildlife."

Wilhite said you should never dispose of leaves "in a stream, or drainage area, or in the gutter in front of your home, or in some sort of a drain that goes into the public drain system," which could lead to a fine in Texas. He also said you should not put them in a landfill.

"The best thing to do with your leaves is to either hand rake them and put them in your compost. Let that become next year's rich soil for adding to your beds, growing healthy plants," he said. "Or shred them up on the spot and let them become part of the Earth."

Wilhite said the key is to shred the leaves and evenly disperse them over your property.

"You can use your lawnmower to mulch up the leaves or mow them up and shred them into smaller pieces," he says. "That just makes nature's job much quicker and it gives the ability for that leaf to break down and turn into compost much, much quicker."

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