Leave the Leaves, Turn Out the Lights

Most people are aware of the global biodiversity crisis, the shocking declines of insects, birds, and other animals, yet many don’t connect it with life in our comfortable suburbs. Because everything is connected, what we do at home is more important than you might think. Anyone with a house and yard can take two actions that will immediately increase biodiversity by helping the creatures that share our neighborhoods: leave the leaves and turn out the lights.  I’ve never understood why sensible people would remove autumn leaves from under their trees and bushes, only to then pay good money to add mulch and fertilizer. Fallen leaves are nature’s combination fertilizer and mulch, full of exactly the nutrients trees and shrubs need. And regarding “messiness,” nobody walks through the forest preserves in autumn wishing someone would clear out all those darn fallen leaves. Those leaves are what make the outdoors comfortable for many animals, providing shelter, food, and habitat. Fireflies d

Lawncare Resources On the Web

No chemical lawn inputs, please
Ecological lawncare advice-givers and activist groups abound on the web. While preparing my post "The Polyculture Lawn," I discovered several helpful websites which I recommend for those interested in learning more about ecological lawns.

Because they are national in scope, a good understanding of your own local conditions is necessary before taking their advice. In addition, people interested in native-plant-centric gardens (in my opinion the best kind), should be aware that many plants--especially groundcovers--suggested as alternatives to turfgrass are exotics, and even invasive. That being said, go have a look.
  • The Lawn Reform Coalition at lawnreform.org offers many suggestions and pictures.
  • Safe Lawns at safelawns.org. News and information, and you can order "safe lawn" signs for your turf.

Related Posts:
Pollinator Garden Resources on the Web
The Polyculture Lawn: A Primer
Once in a Lifetime: This is Not My Beautiful Lawn

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