What to do with all those leaves? Leave them!



Are you lucky enough to have lots of leaves spread over your lawn this fall? Instead of bagging them and having the trash haulers take them away, why not spread them on your garden beds? Here's why:

  • Leaf litter acts as a no-cost, natural blanket of mulch for your gardens, trapping in soil moisture and helping to regulate temperature throughout the winter.
  • Decomposing leaves add free nutrients to your soil, acting as a natural fertilizer next spring.
  • Many beneficial insects and spiders will overwinter under the leaf litter in the egg, pupal, or adult form. Many of these will feed on pest insects in the spring.
  • Before snow blankets the earth in winter and also in the early spring days of migration and nesting, many birds can be seen searching through leaf litter for protein-rich insects. Like birds? Leave your leaves!

Upcoming Education Opportunities:

  • Saturday, 10/10, 10am-11:30am: "Threatened Pollinators and Amphibians: What Can We Do to Help Them?" Crystal Lake Main Beach Building, 300 Lakeshore Drive. Hosted by Countryside Garden Club. Public invited, children welcome, no charge. Speakers include Randy Korb ("The Frog Guy"), Debbie Groat (raising monarchs), Carol Rice (WPPC), Cindi Jablonski (MCCD's wildlife ecologist). Call Rosemary with questions, 815-479-0735.
  • Saturday, 10/24, time and location TBD: TLC's "Seed Sharing Day." Private landowners have generously offered to share their native seeds with others. This is a great opportunity to increase the diversity among your native gardens! Email TLC's Linda Balek to get on the notification list, lbalek@conservemc.org .
  • Saturday, 11/7, 10am-3pm: "Green Living Expo." McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake. Large number of sustainable living vendors, including TLC! Free event, www.mchenry.edu/greenexpo .
  • Saturday, 11/14, 8am-3:30pm: Wild Ones Conference, "Building a Land Ethic With Native Landscaping." College of Lake County, Grayslake. Registration required, www.laketoprairie.wildones.org .
  • Saturday, 11/21, 9am-1:30pm: TLC's "Beginner's Chainsaw Training." Hennen Conservation Area, 4622 Dean St, Woodstock. Must pre-register, www.conservemc.org . $35/members, $50/non-members.
  Have ideas for future topics you'd like to see covered in your monthly email? Contact Sarah Michehl, Community Engagement Specialist, at smichehl@conservemc.org and let her know!