LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - It's winter time and you are starting to think "Do I need to go out there and work in my yard and get it ready for Spring?"
The answer is yes, especially in the month of February which is the time I cut my yard and I trim back my Perennials.
One thing I do is I leave my leaves up until that time. I'll tell you why. First of all it smells so good. Second of all if you think about it, if you have a couple of layers of leaves it acts as insulation to protect the root system of a lot of sensitive plants.
Whether you live in the South or up north, it protects your plants. It's really great because it also semi-decays. So if you don't like them at all and you want to clean them in February - half of them are probably already rotted - so you added a lot of nutrients to your soil.
I've even found if I just pile up some leaves on top of sensitive plants like these Agave that I have. They may be burned on top, but if you look back down at the bottom crown they are still alive so the root system will survive the winters in the South and they will come back, only because I left the leaves on them.
If you leave your leaves too long what happens is they start to decay. As leaves decay in water what they do is they absorb the oxygen from the water. So if you have fish and that type of thing, the fish could die. I learned the hard way! So with leaves and water features, you may want to clean those earlier, such as right when they fall. Other than that, leave your leaves in your flowerbed and use them as a natural mulch.