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Fall Leaves - Beauty or Beast?

Leaves – Pros and Cons

A big part of my job is spent in a vehicle driving around the County from site to site. As I drive around at this time of year – I cannot help but notice all the beautiful fall colors. A few more cold nights and soon all of these beautiful leaves will blanket the landscape.

So I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog listing the good and bad of leaves.

THE GOOD

  • Leaves intercept rainwater – Mature trees intercept 25 to 35 percent of the rainwater that falls on them. Leading to less water running off the landscape.
  • They provide shade that cools the landscape (and also anyone/anything in its shade) – Shaded surfaces may be 20 – 45 degrees F cooler than unshaded surfaces.
  • Leaves provide shelter and food for animals – Insects, birds and mammals use leaves to make their homes and provide insulation in the colder months.
  • They help to clean the air we breathe!
  • Leaves provide nutrients to the soil as they decompose.
  • Oh and they provide many hours of exercise, fun and excitement for my children who love to rake huge piles and jump into them!

THE BAD

  • Leaves can easily clog storm drains causing flooding and ponding of water.
  • They are a pain to rake and cause additional yard work.
  • They can cause slipping hazards when wet.
  • Too many leaves in a stream or pond can cause excess nutrients leading to muck.
  • Leaves can block sunlight and cause grass or plants below to die off.

So as you drive around the County or rake your leaves this fall….I will let you decide if leaves are BENEFICIAL or DETRIMENTAL!

Blog author: Carla Regener, Stormwater Specialist

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