Fall Leaves: Why Do They Leave?
As the year 2018 closes its eyes to rest, the crisp summer green leaves are set ablaze by an autumn fire. Their leaves are dipped in fiery shades from a soft honey to a molten amber, lighting up a chilly fall sunset like a thousand candles in the sky. However, these flaming leaves fade and fall to the ground, crisp and brown like baked bread. It is only when they crunch beneath our feet and whirl in eddies around us that we take notice of them in the form of a household chore. With an exasperated sigh, we gather our rakes and stuff them in trash bags to be sent to the local landfill. We never stop to question why leaves fall to become fall leaves. Like many of nature’s little treasures, fall leaves are meant to be on the ground, not in the garbage.
Fall leaves are more than just a nuisance, they are nature’s necessity.
Though the leaves that venture from tree branches may seem dead and useless like a burnt-out
candle, fall leaves provide an invaluable service for the soil. Within each and every brown leaf
beneath your feet, there are a myriad of leftover mineral salts the tree could not make use of
before the fall. However, when the fallen leaves decay, these precious salts are transferred
back into the surface soil through rainwater. When the dawn of spring finally arises, the
surrounding trees and flowers will have a healthy bloom as all their needed nutrients are
provided for them. Leaving fall leaves alone not only ensures both a beautiful fall and spring.
Because of this law of nature, trees such as the Old Field Pine are known to grow with ease on
lands far too poor to produce crops.
These leaves are not only honeycombs for salt but acid as well. As fall leaves decay, they
release an acid into the ground which allows surrounding rocks to dissolve. Though a seemingly
useless task, rocks hold a treasure trove of nutrients for the soil and plants. When rocks
dissolve, nature’s riches are absorbed by the soil like sulphur, phosphorus, potash soda, iron,
and silica. Silica is particularly useful for producing fruits, vegetables, and nuts for all the
chirping birds and squeaking squirrels. When they finally awake from their winter slumber, they
will be greeted with a feast, giving wildlife the strength to thrive the following year. You are doing
both yourself and the environment a favor for trading in trash bags and lawn tools for hot coco
and a roaring fire.
Nevertheless, a yard messy with autumn leaves may set your neighborhood mumbling. There
is, however, a way to be both eco-friendly and fashion-forward for the fall. Rather than gather
fall leaves to only be thrown in trash bags, rake them into small, circular piles around the trees
of your home. This will not only ensure that the tree will receive its proper nutrients but that your
yard will look organized and clean for onlookers. Moreover, by fashioning piles of fall leaves,
you give your yard an autumn flair, embracing the beauty of fall rather than stuffing it in plastic
bags. Such a simple exterior design will give your home a bold statement that may even get
your neighbors to follow as well.
Embrace the beauty of fall fashion from soft sweaters to crunchy leaves.