Does it Really Make a Difference if You Clean Up Your Leaves?
Although summer has sunshine, winter has beautiful shimmering snow, and spring has fragrant flowers, many will still argue that the most beautiful time of year in our area is fall. Trees turn the most amazing shades of red and gold, the air is crisp, and there are far less outside chores than during the summer. There are so many fun family activities like apple picking and bon fires that some of us might think it is ok to relax when it comes to fall work in our yards, but this would be a mistake.
One of the most iconic fall chores is leaf pick-up. Many of us have fond memories of jumping in huge leaf piles and hearing the leaves crinkle under us before our parents took the leaves away. As a kid leaf piles are fun, as an adult they are work. Removing leaves from your yard may be a chore, but the work is worth the end result because fallen leaves are an excellent breeding ground for a number of pests.
Mice, spiders, ticks, ants, and snakes are just a few pests that find accumulated leaves to be a good place to take up residence. In the fall, if leaves are not collected, they will often accumulate near large objects, like your home’s foundation or your garage. The accumulated leaves create an excellent warm, dark, and insulated environment that many pests seek out.
If the accumulated leaves are near your home they will actually attract these pests to your home. Once these pests are in close proximity to your house it is not difficult for them to come inside. Did you know a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime? Ants and spiders can get in through even smaller cracks. As the fall turns to winter many of these pests may venture from the leaves into your home to find additional heat.
Accumulated leaves that are not right up against your house can also cause issues. Wintering ticks love to use leaf debris as a safe place to hide during the cold months. Accumulated leaves in your yard can draw ticks to it. Although we think of ticks as a summer problem, if you are in your yard on a warm day in the fall or winter you can still get a tick bite.
The benefit of reducing the chances of pests in your home and yard should be enough to motivate you to take care of your leaves. Once you have decided to put your leaves in piles and remove them you should do it quickly. If your pile sits for more than a day or so make, sure to wear gloves when working with it to protect yourself from any pests that have quickly sought refuge in them. And remember, there is a side benefit to making those leaf piles, kids love to jump and play in them. And maybe, just maybe, the kids might have so much fun they are actually willing to help you put the leaves into bags.