Fallen leaves are essential winter shelter for many pollinators and other creatures. As leaves fall, consider raking them into your garden beds. Not only do they enrich your soil by breaking down into (free!) compost, they provide insulation for many butterflies and moths that pupate in the soil, just under the leaf litter. Azures, Hairstreaks and Sphinx moths are just a few of the Lepidoptera who will thank you for this cozy blanket.
If the look of leaves is more unkempt than you can tolerate, consider shredding them by running over them with a mower first. You can even make your own shredder by placing them in a large metal garbage can and using a string trimmer as a ‘stick blender’ to break them down. They can then be used as the best mulch that money can’t buy!
Author: Lisa Schneider