Here are 5 reasons why maybe you don't need to worry about raking your leaves:
1. Leaving leaves where they lie on the ground helps to keep the weeds down over winter. A layer of leaves will slow down weed germination - reducing the number of new growths. Fallen leaves have the same weed suppression and moisture retention properties of shredded wood mulch—and they’re free!
2. Leaves provide an insulating blanket that can help protect wildlife from cold temperatures. By keeping the leaves around you may start seeing a few more critters of different varieties in your yard. Myriads of insects and small mammals will hibernate amongst leaves and plant debris through winter. Some will use leaves for laying eggs. Birds and small mammals can find shelter and food amongst fallen leaves.
3. You can use them as a great mulch over bulbs and plant roots. They will provide much-needed nutrients for your plants and soil as they break down over the Winter. New soil for the Spring!
4. Piling leaves around the base of needle-leaved conifers (like pines, firs, spruces and cedars) and broad-leaved evergreens (such as rhododendrons) after watering them well into the Fall. This ensures that they will be well hydrated before the ground freezes and help prevent as quick freezing.
5. Piling leaves around shrubs and bushes helps to prevent the freeze-thaw cycle in the roots through the winter months - moisture in the ground expands as it freezes, which loosens up dirt.
All in all, embrace the easy weekend spirit and resist the urge to rake the leaves. Save your efforts for the snow to come!