Most of us lead very busy lives. In this fast-paced society, there’s a lot that consumes our time and occupies our schedules, including work, church, the care of our children, aging parents or pets, clubs, and sports, just to name a few. It’s quite easy to become so distracted by life’s demands that we let a few things slide here and there. And for all of the effort that so many homeowners put forth toward the care and maintenance of their landscapes during the spring and summer months, it is easy to forget that care and maintenance should also continue during the fall and winter months, too.

Since landscaping trees go dormant during the colder months, the fact that there are still things we can do to maintain our lawns, protect our trees, and get a head start on preparations for a great growing season when spring and summer return is sometimes overlooked.

And although it is quite often one of those things many of us neglect to do, one such thing that can be done to set things on course for a great start upon spring’s return is to rake autumn’s fallen tree leaves. There are several reasons to consider doing this.

First, fallen autumn leaves that amass may inadvertently cause damage to a landscape. The weight of fallen leaves only grows as autumn rains dampen them. Left undisturbed, rainfall may accumulate. This may cause soil compaction, lack of oxygen, or foster a ripe environment for vermin. Any one of these possible outcomes has the capacity to negatively impact the health of a landscape when growing season returns.

Second, large areas of fallen leaves may prevent the visibility of sidewalks, steps or potholes. Additionally, any rainfall that accumulates under piles of leaves and remains unattended may also freeze when winter’s cold arrives. These are circumstances which pose a threat to homeowners, visitors to the property and pets alike. Unfortunately, there also exists the possibility of legal implications for such matters.

Bear in mind, too, that any tree limbs weakened from storm, wind or termite damage that happen to hang in precarious areas, such as over a home, vehicles or power lines, also become a hazard during winter freezing events. Dangerous outcomes can be prevented before winter’s arrival by being proactive no later than fall. Contact an Austin tree trimming professional to assist with proper pruning techniques to minimize any unnecessary risks.

Finally, since fall leaves are inevitable, put them to good use. Establish a compost bin, and place raked leaves into it for an appropriate storage component during fall and winter. As natural breakdown (decomposition) occurs over these months, homeowners will find that they have a rich, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective–absolutely free!–compost for use in landscaping and gardening projects when spring returns.

For additional assistance or ideas regarding how best to deal with or make use of fall leaves, contact an Austin tree care professional.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

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