(Extra)ordinary litter…

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 :

  1. jumpstart the Nutrient Cycle process by providing organic matter for decomposers, called detritivores, something to consume;
  2. facilitate in the capture and infiltration of ground water into the soil;
  3. provide habitat;
  4. help to build healthy soil.


Want to know more? Click over to this blog post-

Seriously, Can you tell me what “litterfall” is?

Weekly Photo Challenge: “(extra)ordinary


  1. It is also known as duff… Which is opposed to the other definition referring to the posterior. I personally do not like the phrase “to get off your duff” for obvious reasons. A friend, who is a Park Ranger, gave me a bumper sticker from the USFS that says, do it in the duff. I guess I have it all down pat. 🙂


    1. Hum…. So I wonder if the offensive phrase actually refers more to the “where” one sits… Than the “what” one sits with…

      Funny… I think the USFS bumper sticker could be the more rude of the two phrases. A question of Semantics?

      To get back on track- yes, duff is another term for litter fall 🙂


  2. So beautifully illustrated, Jane. I took some similar photos today, but didn’t find your eloquence in narrating them. Such an important part of the season, when our soil is re-newed and the elements of life re-cycled. ❤ WG


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