Fall clean up

Asked October 10, 2018, 2:22 PM EDT

There was a recent article in the StarTribune that stated that fall clean up was a bad idea. It stated that the dead leaves act as fertilizer and should be left in place. What is your opinion?

Hennepin County Minnesota fall cleanup

1 Response

As stated, the proposition is questionable. Leaving fallen leaves in place might or might not be beneficial depending upon the circumstances.

For instance, it's best to clean up leaves affected by disease in the lawn and garden because pathogens often overwinter in them. Cleanup helps reduce the incidence of disease likely to occur the following growing season.

Tree leaves left on turf over winter sometimes compact smothering grass and slowing growth in spring.

Leaves that fall in the street should also be removed to protect lake and stream water quality.

Raked leaves can be used as mulch to protect tender plants, make valuable compost or improve garden soil.

Leaves that fall in wooded areas should not be removed because they improve the soil and otherwise promote biodiversity in the woodland community.

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