The Michigan DNR is the real MVP! Although I have somehow managed to make it 34 years without ever mowing a lawn in my life, I have done my fair share of raking leaves-- and then some.

No matter if you're blowing the leaves around, mulching them, or raking them, dealing with fallen leaves each autumn feels like a losing battle. Thankfully the DNR is giving us the all clear to be lazier this fall.

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The Michigan DNR has come forward to finally set the record straight once and for all: you don't need to rake your leaves. In fact, raking your leaves is actually bad for wildlife according to the DNR. So what should you do instead?

Leaf  Them Be

What's the easiest way to deal with the leaves in your yard this fall? Leave them be. According to the Michigan DNR this will save you both time and energy, and it will benefit wildlife.

The leaf layer is a critical part of the ecosystem. Salamanders, chipmunks, wood frogs, box turtles, toads, insects and other wildlife live in the leaf layer of the forest. Many important pollinators like moths and butterflies overwinter in fallen leaves.

If you'd like to tidy up your yard and clear leaves from sight, the DNR suggests making a pile in the corner or your yard or piling the leaves into a garden bed to insulate your perennials. Win-win!

Compost Bin

Help nature take its course and add your leaves to a compost bin where they'll break down over the course of the winter. This leaves nutrient rich soil perfect for your garden come spring planting season.

Up in Smoke

A popular way to get rid of fallen leaves is to burn them. True, it's a pretty easy way to clear your lawn and the smell of leaves burning definitely adds to the fall ambiance. However, be sure there are no active burn restrictions in your area; you can check here.

It's also important to note this method is acceptable for organic material like leaves, logs, and branches. Per the Michigan DNR it's not legal to burn plastic or other trash. Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist adds,

When burning, always have a water source nearby and never leave a fire unattended, even for a moment...Debris burning is the No. 1 cause of wildfire in Michigan

Friendly reminder: now would be a good time to bust out your rakes and leaf blowers to make sure they're in working order before you put them to use this fall.

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