(WHTM) – The leaves are starting to pile up as they fall to the ground, covering lawns with nature’s confetti, and although your first instinct might be to rake them into piles and send them off you might want to consider keeping them in your yard.

Pros of leaving the leaves alone

Leaves act as fertilizer

According to USA Today, leaves serve as fertilizer for grass and other plants in your yard. They also act as natural weed suppressor when they accumulate around the roots of plants.

If you don’t like having all of the clumps of leaves in your yard but still want this benefit you can mow the leaves. It makes the process of nutrients being absorbed by the soil speed up because it is smaller parts that need to decompose.

They are crucial to wildlife

Leaves provide homes and food for animals and insects. The layers can provide shelter to many tiny insects that are important to your area’s ecosystem.

Leaves feed animals like birds because their food source, caterpillars, will use leaf piles as a home. This is important during the early winter and late fall months because birds need the food source to gain energy for migration.

It’s a green solution

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, yard trimmings, food scraps and other organic waste account for around 34% of municipal waste taken to landfills in Pennsylvania.

Leaves in landfills create methane, a greenhouse gas, when they break down in landfills.

Cons of letting leaves sit

Water quality

If too many leaves from your yard find their way into your street they can clog the grates. If the leaves do pass through the drains, they can end up in streams and rivers which will affect the water quality.


Leaves can create a mat over your lawn if they build up too much.

When should you rake the leaves?

When a mat starts to form you should move the leaves. You can put them in your garden so the soil can get natural fertilizer. If snow is in the forecast, consider mowing the leaves to avoid matting.