A bed of fallen maple leaves.

Do you love to help pollinators — whether it’s planting a butterfly garden or getting a yard off grass?

Well, there’s another thing you can do to help and it’s really simple…

DO NOT rake your leaves!

Butterflies begin in leaves, as larvae.

Those brown, dead leaves are the planet’s butterfly nursery. They’re home to butterfly larvae, microbes and worms. And leaf litter is where many species of butterflies and moths overwinter as pupae. Animals like toads, shrews and salamanders benefit from leaf litter to hide and hunt, too.

This fall, let your rake collect only dust. Here’s more information on how you can provide winter cover for pollinators and other important creatures where you live.

Can’t leave all of your leaves where they fall? Here are a few other ideas:

Mulch leaves in your planter beds

Does your homeowner’s association have something against leaves? Rake leaves off the lawn and into your planter beds.

Mulch leaves on your lawn

Use your mower to mulch leaves on the lawn and improve your lawn health by suppressing weeds and fertilizing the soil.

Collect browns to compost

Backyard Composting Dos and Don’ts tells us to balance “greens” with “browns.” Store leaves in a bin and add them to your backyard composter throughout the winter months.

Craft with leaves

Have children collect their favourite leaves in your yard and throughout the neighbourhood and try your hand at nature weaving.


DO rake leaves out of sewers and drainage pathways.