Saskatchewan·Poll

Should you listen to science and not rake your leaves?

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has a good reason for you to avoid the annual chore this fall — helping bugs, birds, and butterflies. CBC wants to hear what you have to say.

What do you think of the Nature Conservancy's suggestion you leave the leaves alone?

The Nature Conservancy of Canada suggests people don't rake their leaves this fall and instead leave a layer to help the critters that visit their yards. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Good news for all you lazybones out there.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says it's time to take a break from raking the leaves and leave them be instead.

By leaving a layer of leaves on the lawn, it can provide natural fertilizer and be good for birds, Andrew Holland with the Nature Conservancy of Canada said. 

"They eat the insects that are underneath the ground come Spring, underneath those leaves," Holland said. 

CBC Poll: What do you think of the 'don't rake' philosophy?


Mobile-friendly link to leaf poll.


One or two layers of leaves isn't too thick, he said, and the light covering helps root systems, helps keep the soil moist, suppresses weeds, and the leaves slowly break down to give the lawn nutrients. 

"Nothing is wasted," Holland said. "Butterflies and songbirds alike depend on leaf litter."

When cleaning out gardens in the fall as well, Holland suggests leaving the seeds and dried fruit as wintering insects can eat them and then those insects are an important food source for birds. 

"Providing winter habitats for our native birds and insects is just as important as providing food and shelter for them during the spring and summer," Holland said. 

A light cover of leaves can help birds in the spring, says the Nature Conservancy. (Submitted by Christer Waara)

Some people may have a storm drain they don't want to get leaves in, or they may have neighbours pressuring them to rake their lawn, Holland said. But, "a small layer of leaves can make a big difference."

The leaves are coming down and Saskatchewan folks are busy raking. But maybe they shouldn't, say nature experts. (CBC)

With files from The Morning Edition

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