Leaf it alone: does your garden need to be ‘tidy’? - Extinction Rebellion UK

Leaf it alone: does your garden need to be ‘tidy’?

This time of year is a prime season for leaf blowers. Wanting a ‘tidy’ garden and a drive free of debris is the driving force behind many proud homeowners blowing away the leaves from the paving, but for insects and small animals, that quick garden tidy can spell disaster.

A report by Germany’s Ministry of The Environment concluded that leaf blowers and other lawn- care machinery pose a fatal risk to insects and small animals that can be dislodged or sucked up during garden tidying. The German government has called for citizens to use them only as a last resort.

According to The Independent, “bugs are dying out eight times faster than larger animals, with 40 per cent of the roughly one million known insect species facing extinction as a result.” Bugs and insects take refuge under fallen leaves, and as the leaves break down they feed the soil with nutrients and food, not just for insects but bacteria and a vast array of microscopic creatures.

Bugs are also facing demise at the hand of rising temperatures. We can all do more to protect and foster one of the most important cogs of our planet’s ecosystem.

If the idea of a completely wild garden fills you with dread, why not start small? Take columnist Jane Perrone’s advice: “Clear fallen leaves from paths and rake them up from the lawn, but leave borders untouched (aside from removing any diseased leaves) to benefit hedgehogs and insects”.

Creating a haven for wildlife might take a little time: for instance, wildflowers take a couple of years to bloom, but perseverance will pay off. One thing you can do right away though, is to ditch your leaf blower, and invest in a rake instead.


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