What about doing nothing with leaves?


Have you raked your leaves yet? I haven’t.

I never do, actually. Our yard is edged by five large poplar trees, which drop not only leaves but detritus from their prominent flowers. All this stuff sifts down over the garden, scatters across the lawn and gathers in drifts against the back door. Mixed in are the leavings of our smaller trees–oak, maple, walnut and sassafras. And I don’t do a thing about it.

On one recent walk down our rural road, I saw one neighbor out with a leaf blower, driving small piles into a huge pile in the center of his yard while the machine roared and sputtered on his back. Down the way, another fellow was herding his leaves onto his sidewalk, then setting fire to them. Plumes of smoke issued from both places.

All over America, leaf blowers are combusting and leaf piles are smoldering. And my leaves are lying there, untidy, unmolested.

Perhaps our yard is just open enough that we can get away with the lazy approach. It seems like each year, by the time the new leaves are out in the spring, the old leaves from last fall are just…gone. I guess they blow away. I don’t really know.

I’m just glad not to use gas, or start fires (or–most importantly–spend my time) battling with organic matter. Weeding the garden is plenty for me.