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Gardening Information by UC Master Gardeners of Napa County
by Gabriele O'Neill
on January 25, 2021 at 2:10 PM
In the era of mega fires, leaving leaves around the house or at the foot of trees is also now frowned upon not just for reasons of neatness, but for fire safety as well.  
In our climate, those leaves unfortunately dry out quickly and, especially during a fall/winter like the one we've been having, stay dry for long periods of time and therefore pose a fire hazard. I find myself constantly torn between trying to be fire safe while depriving my oaks of the only fertilizer they ever get and leaving the leaves as source of nutrients and hiding place for the many oak dwelling moth pupae that the birds so desperately need, as was brought to my attention again by the wonderful talk that Doug Tallamy recently gave to the Santa Clara Master Gardeners. Luckily we have a big enough property that raking leaves around the house isn't going to totally eclipse the moth and butterfly habitat, but on the flip side of the coin, we will never manage to make our landscape completely fire safe.
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