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Left on the ground, the leaves supply the soil with nutrients, enriching it with nitrogen and carbon as it decomposes. Once spring arrives, it will allow it to retain moisture better and be more fertile. When placed on the flower beds, they also constitute a protective layer against the cold and against the appearance of weeds. But the benefit is not only for the benefit of the gardener: dead leaves play an essential role in the renewal of ecosystems.
In winter, they provide protection for certain pollinators that hibernate in the soil, such as bumblebees, in addition to providing food for soil-fertilizing species, such as earthworms. Fantastic asset for gardeners and biodiversity, dead leaves must however be carefully monitored. If the layer is too thick, the turf can deteriorate due to the lack of light and oxygen.
The leaves of a diseased tree can also transmit the disease to other plants. To keep a beautiful lawn without giving up the benefits of autumn, it is possible, in case of excess, to remove some of the leaves, in order to leave only a scattered cover. The surplus can be used as mulch on flower beds, in the vegetable garden or around trees and shrubs. It can also optionally be added to the compost. It is important not to burn the leaves: this will emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide, and will kill all the small animals present around the leaves. In France, it is also prohibited and punishable by a fine of up to 450 euros.