So many folks in my neighborhood (Zone 8b) spend quite a lot of electricity and/or gasoline getting their fallen leaves in bags and onto the street curb these days. Not a lot of analog rake noises abound. And, here in my native deep South, the Live Oaks are the cause of so much local activity.
This candid culprit makes no apologies as it delivers a raucous leaf explosion this time of year. We love them so much whilst they herald the first day of Spring for us by shedding almost every dang brown leaf they have on board. With this kind of flotsam in an Oak lined drive….well, I get excited about the fallen leaves. They are so full of Nitrogen. Click here and here for all the great news!
The Earth’s leaves are an exceedingly vital part of our ecosystem. A carpet of fallen leaves, and it’s decompostion, creates the essential nitrogen Earth needs to survive and function properly. And, nitrogen can spend its life in 3 ways: release as a greenhouse gas into the Earth’s atmosphere; dissolve into the water systems as the form nitrate or be fed to plants. By leaving the leaf right where it falls, you can aid in the process of feeding the soil underneath it. Allowing your leaves to decompose on your landscape is good for the landscape. And, if you must rake them, feeding them into your compost heap is a fantastic way to provide the brown layer that is necessary for your pile’s good health. (Brown layers are leaves and yard trimmings – Green layers generally come from your kitchen….even coffee grounds are Green) So, let’s all hold hands and get rid of the leaf blowers. Gasoline doesn’t belong in Nature. Come on! You want the exercise, anyway. And, speaking of Brown, these photographs are by the Nature/Garden Photographer Kenneth Brown. He lives in Vermont and these pretty selects are from his book called The Soul Of Vermont.