Leaf Rescue

Today’s Sidewalk Nature: Leaf Rescue.

Before: leaves headed for storm grate.
During: leaves shoved into reused plastic bags.
After: leaves dumped onto my yard (for the pawpaw patch).

The next batches – as soon as I can wake up my helper – will go to the garden and under all the trees and shrubs.
These are primo sidewalk leaves: mostly Shingle oak, September elm, and Sugar maple, and they will slowly decompose in the yard while creating a soft landing for the 90% of butterfly and moth species who drop to the soil to overwinter.

And, any galls or insects on the leaves will have a chance to do their thing.
And, our winter Robins will have lots of food to find on the ground.
And, come spring, skinks, firefly larvae, and a zillion other creatures will use the leaves as food and/or shelter.
And, my soil is enriched,
my trees and shrubs get free fertilizer / mulch,
and next summer, I won’t have to water!

“Leave the Leaves” (why and how) at the Xerces Society (for invertebrate conservation).

“Just Leave it” fall / winter clean-up tips (as in, don’t clean-up) from the Xerces Society.

Metro Nashville “Adopt a Storm Drain” program (link). Adopt a storm grate near you!



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Joanna Brichetto is a naturalist and writer in Nashville, the hackberry-tree capital of the world.
She writes about everyday marvels amid everyday habitat loss, and her essays have appeared in Creative NonfictionBrevity, Fourth Genre, Hippocampus, The Hopper, Flyway, The Common, Stonecrop Review, The Fourth River and other journals. Her almanac of local urban nature stories is forthcoming.