The Most Annoying Chore You Don’t Have to Do

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is urging people to leave their leaves alone this fall. Why not rake them up and throw them away? NWF naturalist David Mizejewski says not only is removing the leaves problematic for the environment, allowing them to remain on the ground can actually benefit your garden.

Fall Leaves

The Environmental Protection Agency provides that yard waste, including fallen leaves, accounts for 13% of U.S. waste annually. This translates to nearly 33 million tons! The landfills where this waste ends up ultimately create the largest source of man-made methane gas in the country. Moreover, by ridding your yard of the fallen leaves, you’re disposing of food, shelter, and nesting material upon which local wildlife relies. Finally, he offers that the leaves can actually benefit your garden by suppressing weeds and acting as a natural fertilizer.

Looking for alternate ways to dispose of the leaves so you can maintain your yard throughout the season? We’ve got you covered! Here are some great alternatives to raking your leaves and hauling the waste off to the dump.

1.  Leave ’em!

Fall Mowing

If you mow over them, they will serve as a great natural fertilizer for your yard.

2.  Collect them, shred them, use them for mulch.

Rake Guy

The leaves are perfect for berries, ornamental shrubs, and veggies.

3.  Compost!


The Farmer’s Almanac notes that leaves are rich in carbon, and make great compost when mixed with summer’s nitrogen-rich clippings. Haven’t quite honed your composting skills? Take them to your neighborhood recycling center and they’ll do the work for you.

4.  Craft!

Fall Craft Girl

What better way to spend a crisp fall afternoon than turning your leaves into works of art?

5.  Have the best. Day. Ever.

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L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.