Leaf litter… the good litter. Thrown down by Mother Nature, herself, in the fall when the long days of summer come to an end and daylight hours get shorter and shorter. Deciduous leaf refuse is cast to the ground after shortened days render leaves no longer capable to carry out the food-making task of photosynthesis. Bare-branched trees are ready to rest during the darker days of late fall and winter… however, the (extra)ordinary piles of leaves blanketing the ground are far from ready to take a break. The second life of a leaf is just getting under way!
Leaf litter (aka litter-fall, detritus) is at its (extra)ordinary best when left to pile up atop of soil. There, it forms a layer of decomposing organic material. Known by soil experts as the “O horizon,” leaf litter is amazing! Decomposing leaves will perform many life-giving jobs.
These are some important examples :
- jumpstart the Nutrient Cycle process by providing organic matter for decomposers, called detritivores, something to consume;
- facilitate in the capture and infiltration of ground water into the soil;
- provide habitat;
- help to build healthy soil.
Want to know more? Click over to this blog post-