It's Fall in Iowa! The BEST season - my opinion anyway. The leaves are already starting to change, and are now even dropping in some spots in northern Iowa. On my front stoop, they have to be swept daily already. We do have a lot of nice tree coverage, so that' gets part of the blame.

As pretty as they are while on the trees, or will soon be, they turn to a nuisance as soon as they drop. That's why Iowans spend hours cleaning them, sweeping them, mulching them...

But we shouldn't. Nope, we should leaf them (heh, see what I did there). According to biologists at the National Wildlife Federation, you should just let them sit in your yard. Why?

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Experts: don't rake!

Here are some reasons you shouldn't rake your leaves, according to the National Wildlife Federation and Return To Now:

  • It's unnatural. A few-inch deep leaf layer is actually natural, it forms its own ecosystem. It's a habitat for wildlife.
  • A lot of wildlife rely on fallen leaves for shelter and food.
  • Free fertilizer and mulch. Fallen leaves actually decompress weeds naturally and when they decompose they add nutrients to the soil... for free!
  • The birds and butterflies. Oftentimes larvae are attached to fallen leaves. So if you rake and remove leaves, you're getting rid of butterflies. And if you get rid of butterflies, you probably won't have as many birds in your yard because birds rely on the larvae to feed their young.
  • Reduce waste! Using plastic bags to round up your raked leaves is incredibly wasteful. Bags used for yard trimmings account for roughly 33 million tons of waste each year in landfills.
  • Reduce pollution. Sure many leaf blowers are electric. But many are not. They, along with leaf trucks often use gas which equals pollution. Go green and don't rake the leaves.
  • Save your time and your body! Why waste your time and literal energy doing something you really shouldn't? You don't have to tell me twice...

Fun Facts About All of the 99 Counties in Iowa

Iowa has 99 counties, each with rich, unique history.

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.