MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - According to the National Wildlife Federation, you shouldn't bother with raking those leaves in your yard. The federation says dry, dead leaves are important habitats for many wildlife species.
"Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer to find food and other habitat, including salamanders, chipmunks, box turtles, toads, shrews, earthworms, many insects species," the NWF said on its website.
Also, from a gardening perspective, leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds while also fertilizing the soil as they break down.
But if you must rake up those leaves, don't throw them in the trash, the NWF said. "Compost them or drop them off at a municipal recycling center so they can be turned into compost that you and other members of your community can use in the spring."