Raking deciduous leaves into evergreen woods – is it harmful?


Sandy soil – shade (evergreen bush)


I’m going to make a big assumption here and guess that you are raking deciduous leaves from elsewhere and dumping them into the evergreen woods, or that someone else is doing so.

Evergreen tree environments and deciduous tree environments (woods or forests) are very different from each other.  They have different soil structures & compositions, have different soil pH’s (acid, neutral or alkaline), different soil mycorrhizae (fungi & mushrooms), different flora and in many instances, different fauna that have adapted & thrive in those specific environments.

That being said, there is more than likely a small amount of deciduous leaf blow-in from elsewhere and leaf drop from understory small trees, shrubs, native perennials and weeds in an evergreen wood, which is part of the natural life cycle of that particular environment.

What you describe, 2 feet deep piles of raked in leaves, is not part of this natural cycle and should be strongly discouraged.  Leaves this thick will stifle understory growth & regeneration, potentially harm the evergreen trees stability, can encourage non-native animal infestation such as rodents, introduce harmful or fatal disease pathogens & insects and can change the soil composition & pH.

So, my advice to you or whoever is doing this, is to stop raking the leaves into the evergreen woods and find somewhere else to dispose of them.  We have so few unspoiled woods, bush and forests left, that we should treasure them and not cause harm.

Hope this helps.