Fall Cleanup- Yes or No?
It has always been my feeling that less is more. Why cleanup in the fall when you can just clea
n up in the spring? There are many pros and cons to raking up leaves and debris from our flower beds and lawns. Now, I know most of you like to tidy up, especially your lawns. But we now know leaving leaves and other organic matter is a great place for beneficial insects and pollinators to live for the winter. These are the lifeline of the microbiome of our soil- creating aeration, composting of organic matter and so much more. Here’s an example of why it’s good to leave a percentage of organic matter in your garden : I had started a new perennial bed in a new location, the soil wasn't that good there. So, I decided, several years ago, to leave a percentage of leaves and dead organic matter there, and let the perennials grow through it. I have now created my own compost and use no mulch. When the leaves and debris blow into your perennial gardens, they create a natural barrier for the cold winter months
Some of the cons of not cleaning up leaves and other debris can be aesthetics, also not wanting leaves to be up against buildings to create rot or places for rodents to get into homes or garages. Also another con, especially in New England, because we have many acidic soil trees, aka, maple, oak and pine, is that our soil can become acidic. Any easy fix for this is a quick treatment of powdered or pelletized lime in the spring.Sometimes,
heavy patches of leaves on your lawn can create dead spots and it may in turn leave you to extra work seeding those areas. Lack of fall clean up can sometimes bring on disease and fungus issues. I feel this tends to be weather related, when spring brings damp and muggy weather.If you decide to clean up your lawns and gardens you can create a space, a designated area for your compostable material if you choose.
Be the master of your own garden and decide what works for you. Remember, every season is different, so go with the flow and have fun!