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UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County

Garden Articles

Leaf Litter Is an Environmental Windfall
     by Vera Strader

Leaf litter is truly an environmental windfall. Fallen leaves act as a wildlife boon enriching soil, providing a down-like comforter for small critters and, according to one estimate, benefiting at least 122 bird species nationwide.

Mother Nature does not remove fallen leaves—and for good reason. Leaf litter provides food and shelter for earthworms, pill bugs, millipedes and a multitude of smaller life such as eggs and larvae of insects and spiders of many kinds. These creatures are all essential components of the food web providing sustenance to toads, frogs, lizards, and countless other animals.

Nearly all backyard birds require protein from insects to feed their young. A yard without thrushes and towhees mining for morsels in the litter and bluebirds and flycatchers snagging bugs from ground and air is a yard devoid of life.  Continue reading...

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