In November 2022 the TPNA invited the New Hope Audubon Society to our monthly board meeting to tell us about the “Leave Your Leaves” initiative.
We learned about the enormous environmental and economic benefits of letting the falling autumn leaves remain in your yard. This year, as leaves continue to fall in Trinity Park, the message bears repeating. Here’s an excerpt on the subject from last year’s Trinity Park News:
Fallen leaves create important habitat for our favorite insects to lay their eggs. Many butterflies, moths and fireflies “overwinter” in leaf litter as caterpillars, chrysalises, or eggs. And the baby birds in the springtime will depend on those caterpillars for their food. Leaf litter also works like a sponge in heavy rain, mitigating flooding and filtering water as it flows to our drinking water sources, while keeping trees and plants hydrated. Leaving your leaves will also decrease noise and air pollution (from blowers and trucks to haul leaves away). Most landscape crews use gas-powered leaf blowers, which are loud and very polluting. Did you know that running one for an hour generates air pollution equivalent to driving a 2016 Toyota Camry for 1,100 miles?! California has even enacted legislation to regulate them after July 1, 2022, and ban their sale before the start of 2024. Instead of paying to have your leaves removed, try using them as mulch. You’ll save time and energy, reduce pollution, and help the environment in many ways!
Neighbor Gabriele Weinberger attended the November meeting and has remained interested in advocating for “leaving your leaves” for all the reasons noted above. She adds, “Without the leaf litter, stormwater washes out more soil around root systems and runs off rather than be absorbed by our trees.”
She would like to see the culture of landscaping and lawncare to evolve towards more environmentally friendly and less disruptive practices. She acknowledges that it is not something that will happen suddenly and uniformly, but it will be a transformation that we seek over a period. For example, she suggests, “As battery operated blowers and mulching mowers are becoming very common, affordable, and easy to use, you can opt for them as you purchase yard equipment and make a clean investment in our neighborhood. You can also let your landscaping company know your preference for battery run equipment for the sake of clean air, noise reduction, and landscaping practices that leave our leaves for our Trinity Park trees and animals, rather than taking them away.”
If you have tried leaving your leaves in your own yard, share your experience with Gabriele at intaweinberger@ icloud.com