Gardeners: Leave Your Leaves

leaf recyclingDo not rake up the leaves in your garden, let the best recyclers do their job!  This is a busy time of year for earthworms. And resisting the temptation to tidy away Autumn leaves not only feeds these subterranean creatures but fertilizes the soil, making them one of the gardener’s best friends.

Earthworms “process” fallen leaves by dragging them underground to feed on them in safety. They digest dead plant matter which passes out the earthworm as fertile soil enriched with recycled nutrients.

A typical earthworm only measures an average of 12cm long with a top speed of 20m an hour but they will bury the majority of leaves that fall from trees every year. An acre of woodland could contain 1 million earthworms consuming 10 million tons of leaves, stems and roots a year.

Earthworms really are one of nature’s busiest and greatest recyclers. So please leave your leaves!

Don’t sweep up the leaves in your garden – they feed the earthworms.

You might like to watch this BBC one video called “The Leafy Lunch”, a short time lapse video showing our busy worms at work!

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“Greening Sussex by Sussex families”