Especially the fallen leaves in autumn protect the plants and many small living creatures from ice and cold in winter. If a blanket of snow comes over it, flora and fauna have it reasonably warm and cozy and all survive the winter period. Of course, the pests in the garden also survive. Here you only have to dispose of visibly infected leaves with fungal spores and snail eggs when the fallen leaves are collected. This then disappears in the residual waste, not on the compost.
Another thing: a garden also includes a few pests, because otherwise the birds have nothing to eat, the beneficial insects are also unemployed and starve. In a garden with good balance, all find their place and also have their right. A little of the fallen leaves is also transformed as humus. It improves the quality of the soil and makes plants grow better.
Recycle old fallen leaves on the compost
However, much of the old foliage is often swept from the beds toward the end of winter, starting in mid/late February, so that the spring bloomers can really grow out of the ground. The old fallen leaves then go into the compost, where they can continue to form into humus. If all the fallen leaves are disposed of with the residual waste, many microorganisms are also disposed of. These then end up in the waste incineration plant.
Using leaves as mulch
Leaves can also be used as mulch. To do this, it should rest for about two weeks. Then simply spread the leaf mulch on the ground. It is especially suitable for hedges, ornamental and berry bushes. In the case of oak, walnut or chestnut leaves, it should be noted that they are very coarse, decompose more slowly and should therefore be chopped. The leaves of these tree species contain many tannins. Therefore, only plants that need an acidic soil, such as azaleas, rhododendrons or blueberries, should be mulched with them.
So: fallen leaves may and should be left on the beds in winter for protection. From the end of February (depending on the region), the beds can be carefully swept free.
Rake off leaves from the lawn
One more thing: Hydrangeas, roses and many other small woody plants need a warm pack of fallen leaves for winter protection! Of course, you can also use straw, jute fabric, fir brushwood as protection. Old fallen leaves belong on the compost. Only the lawn must be freed from leaves from the beginning, otherwise the leaves will rot and the lawn will get stains or fungal diseases.