By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – OK, so you, or whoever takes care of your lawn, cleaned up and took all the leaves away. You may be smiling, but your trees aren’t so happy – they’re starving.

Trees need those fallen leaves for fertilizer – Nature knows what it’s doing.

When you take the leaves away and dump mulch on the ground in their place, the mulch can’t begin to replace all the nutrients the leaves had. Plus, some mulches contain recycled wood that’s been treated with chemicals you don’t necessarily want in your soil.

So, going forward, leave the leaves under trees and shrubs – shred them with a mower or vac so they break down faster. Use composted leaves as mulch – get them from the community leaf pile if you can, and if you need more mulch, put it on top of the ground up leaves.

Remember, when you use mulch instead of leaves – you remove the best fertilizer you can get and it’s free – then both you and your trees pay the price.

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