Relax, don’t rake.

Fall colours at Kerncliffe Park

Did you notice how vibrant the fall colours have been this year? This is due to the combination of enough summer rain so that the trees are not stressed, and an autumn with warm, sunny days and cool (though not too cold) nights.

With the changing landscape comes the reality of falling leaves. Many of us have been taught to rake the leaves and either bag them up or in many parts of Burlington, put them at the edge of the property for the annual loose-leaf curbside collection. While it’s undeniable that running through a pile of freshly raked leaves brings many wonderful childhood memories, there is something to be said about keeping a thin layer of leaves on your lawn and in your gardens. After all, when was the last time you saw Mother Earth raking up her leaves?

If you keep a layer or two of leaves on your lawn or in your garden beds, they will break down providing valuable nutrients while helping to keep moisture in and weeds out. In addition, beneficial critters can overwinter under the leaves helping to increase biodiversity. And, the birds will thank you for providing a food source.

Of course, there are always exceptions. If there are any catch basins near your property, ensure they are clear of leaves and other debris at all times. When it rains, the catch basin needs to be clear to remove the water from the surrounding area.

If you have a thick layer of leaves, you might need to spread them out a bit so as to not choke your lawn or break them down with your electric lawn mower. You can even add them to your gardens to help protect the plants against freeze and thaw conditions.

If you choose to rake your lawn and are physically able to, hand rake rather than using a leaf blower. Not only are you getting some exercise, you are also reducing noise pollution which increases stress levels, and also emissions that contribute to climate change. If necessary, an alternative is an electric leaf blower which is a bit quieter and cleaner from an emissions point of view.

Take Action Burlington! Rethink your fall clean-up routines and work with nature. Collectively we can make a difference.

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