Did You Know

You've Been Doing The Wrong Thing With Your Fallen Leaves This Whole Time

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It's that time of the year where fall foliage covers every inch of our yards and streets, which is beautiful, but a pain to dispose of.

Well, I have good news for you! Stop raking and disposing the leaves on your yard. If they're in your driveway, by all means move them onto the grass, but don't fret if they're not all bagged and ready to be picked up.

The leaves you are so eager to rake are actually a home to many critters and small animals.

If you destroy this mini ecosystem, you might have a bigger problem on your hands. Insects that can't find a place to hibernate under these leaves may find their way inside your home.

Also, depending on your area, your disposed leaves may end up in a landfill, where the lack of oxygen causes certain microbes to thrive. When the leaves break down, they start releasing greenhouse gases.

Here are six clever things you can do with fall leaves!

While some of these hacks involve picking up the leaves, it's up to you to decide exactly what you want to do with them.

I only rake up 50% of my leaves, and leave the rest on my yard.

1. Create next year's garden beds

Autumn isn't finished yet, and there's still a whole season separating you from spring, but it's never too early to prepare next year's garden.

Accumulate a decent amount of leaves to build soil over the winter so that you can later add to your garden beds.

2. Save it to feed your lawn

Fall leaves are packed with essential nutrients that your soil will thank you for.

Make your own mulch by mowing leaves into tiny pieces, and you can either save it for later, or just leave it to decompose and become food for your yard.

3. Make your own compost

Every gardener loves a good DIY.

If you spend a lot of money on compost every year, it's time you start saving your leaves, rather than cash.

Pile fall leaves in an area where they won't be damaged in the winter, and when they decompose, you can dig out the nutrient-filled compost and use it in your garden.

4. Insulate plants that need it

Just like how you need a blanket to keep warm during winter, so do some of your tender plants.

If you live somewhere that doesn't get too wet, build a cage around the plants that need protection and add leaves.

5. Make decorative roses

Fall foliage is so beautiful, and it's tempting to get creative with them.

If you have some time on your hands and are looking to spice things up this fall or for Thanksgiving, grab some fall leaves and turn them into roses.

The process is so easy. Here's a quick video showing how it's done:

6. Have fun with them

It's not winter yet, which means the weather isn't so bad!

There's a lot of fun things that you can do as a family with fallen leaves, like making a scarecrow or piling up the leaves and jumping into them.

What do you do with your fall leaves? Share these tips with a friend!

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.