Let them lie

Flemish towns rethink autumn leaf clean up

A growing number of Flemish municipalities have stopped raking up fallen tree leaves as they awaken to the climate and environmental benefits of letting the autumnal shedding pile up.

This follows a campaign launched by a Bruges-based permaculture expert and sustainable landscaping consultant that touts the varied benefits of dry leaves, not only as soil fertilisers but also for their wider impact on the local environment and on the climate.

“Autumn leaves that are left in place act as an extra-good absorption layer for water. They ensure that the soil retains water longer and releases it more slowly.”

Other environmental agencies, such as the US National Wildlife Foundation or the VVOG Flemish association of public greenery also echo De Jaeghe’s arguments that leaves are great fertilisers as well as an important element for local wildlife and biodiversity.

This is my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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