Urging Marylanders to rethink foliage management for wildlife and the environment



Maryland – As fall approaches across Maryland, the National Wildlife Federation is advocating for a new approach to leaf management and encouraging residents to reconsider the long-standing tradition of bagging leaves. To support local ecosystems and limit environmental damage, the federation is reminding Marylanders of the important role of this layer of leaves in nurturing butterfly and moth larvae, and by removing some of their fallen leaves. I urge you to leave it where you are.

David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, emphasized the importance of leaving leaves on lawns to create critical habitat for overwintering butterfly and moth larvae. This helps maintain bird populations by providing an essential food source for birds in the spring.

In a poll of 1,200 people conducted by the National Wildlife Federation, 82% of respondents said they were willing to leave the fall colors to benefit wildlife. credit: adobe stock

In an interview, Mizejewski explained: “It covers the roots underneath the plant, suppresses weeds, and retains moisture in the soil. It feels like mulch and fertilizer. But we’ve been told by the gardening industry that ‘remove all the leaves,’ and then I’ve been trained to go buy mulch and fertilizer.”

The National Wildlife Federation conducted a study in conjunction with the campaign that revealed surprising trends in leaf management. Only one in four people choose to leave their leaves untouched, and about half of those who engage in leaf removal discard them as waste.

The survey also found that 36% of respondents reported being forced to eliminate vacation due to homeowner association regulations or city ordinances, making it clear that this is a barrier for many homeowners. became. While natural decomposition on the lawn contributes to improving soil quality, Mizejewski emphasized the negative effects of tossing fallen leaves in the trash, saying, “Bagging up leaves and sending them to a landfill is , which is actually really bad. It’s actually creating very nasty greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that are part of climate change.”

Leaves and other organic waste deposited in landfills decompose and emit methane, a powerful greenhouse gas known to be substantially more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Mizejewski suggested a more environmentally friendly alternative, recommending that if homeowners must remove leaves, they should consider composting it or sending it to a city recycling center.

The National Wildlife Federation’s efforts align with broader efforts to reduce the environmental impact of individual actions and highlight the importance of considering the far-reaching impacts of seemingly routine garden maintenance. is showing. The campaign also highlights the potential for residents to have a significant impact on local ecosystems and fight climate change in their own backyard.

As Marylanders enter the fall season and engage in annual leaf management, the National Wildlife Federation’s message is clear. Taking a greener approach to foliage is a small but impactful step towards protecting local wildlife and reducing the negative impact of organic waste. In a landfill.

Please come and visit us. Website Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s campaigns and find resources on responsible foliage management.

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