Why Do We Leave the Leaves?
As part of our care of creation, we have been working to reduce the turf grass in areas where it is not needed (like on the steep hill on Ivanhoe Street) and add native plants to beautify the garden beds at St. Michael’s. The densely planted native perennials with their deep roots help to control stormwater runoff, while simultaneously attract our native birds and butterflies by providing food and much needed habitat.
Maintenance of native plants, trees and shrubs is little different from maintenance of non-native plants. Chemical fertilizers are not generally needed and of course pesticides would be counterproductive, as they destroy the very ecosystem that the native plants were installed to enhance. The value of the native perennials, trees and shrubs is greatly increased if their fallen leaves are left in place. Within that leaf layer is where our native fireflies, butterflies, and many other interesting and beneficial insects complete their life cycles. The fallen leaves also help protect both the plants and beneficial insects from the freezing temperatures in the winter. Many of our native bird species depend on native insects to feed their nesting young. If we remove the leaves, we destroy the habitat that we have created with the native plants.
Tags: Care of Creation