Fall clean up may create controversy around your home. Let’s dig in. To clean up or not may depend on what kind of leaves you have in your yard and what type of gardens or landscape designs you have. Composition, placement and the type of trees you have in your yard determines how you clean gardens and yard spaces for the winter months. Sunny and protected areas will need different treatment than those areas that are exposed.
The way leaves break down is based on the type of tree they come from. For example, oak leaves and pine needles do not easily, because they have high carbon content and are also acidic. Maple and birch leaves breakdown quickly and rot quickly being a thin leaf. Glossy leaves like broadleaf evergreens like azaleas and rhododendrons are hard and will not breakdown quickly. Plants that call for a neat environment include roses, hydrangeas, dogwoods, and lilacs.
It may seem like a lot of work to figure out the composition of leaves in your yard and determining which leaves are okay where fall and which are not. Leaves can be used as a tool to use mother nature to your advantage by helping plants store energy, moderate temperature, and provide food for insects and animals. We also know leaves can be carriers of disease and area that may attract pests seeking warmth. Isolation in nature means nothing can exist, nature needs the bounding of other organisms for survival.
The divide this topic creates can only be broken by your opinion on what your yard needs or potentially what you have time for at the end of the fall season. Protect your decision with knowledge on how it helps or hurts your landscape.