Should We Leave the Dead?

April 21, 2020 · 1 minute read
Should We Leave the Dead?

“Dead” is usually not a term we think of with a silver lining, and I wouldn’t normally phrase the question quite that way. Rather: Would you like the debris hauled away?

Seems like it should have an obvious answer, but the benefit of decaying trees and woody debris within a natural landscape is becoming more appreciated even within the outdoor perimeters of our own properties.

As folks see the value and importance of a healthy ecosystem, I find myself talking about it with our neighbors more and more. Healthy earth and the different species that grow in and from its soil is full of dead tree and plant material that is continually breaking down and feeding new plant life as well as many other organisms. Some of the liveliest of earth’s environments exist because of decaying, dead trees.

This understanding is not the most culturally accepted yet since we tend to associate the term “dead” with everything that is expired, old, or depleted and finished — in other words, everything that is unfortunate.

But in the natural world, death in so many ways is a beginning, an opportunity for new life to thrive. Understandably, most of us don’t live in a forest where nobody thinks twice about having large dead trees standing tall. And we certainly don’t want a tree that’s showing signs of decay looming ominously near our homes.

But if there is a part of the yard, further from the house that doesn’t perhaps get the periodic manicure. It can be a healthy decision to leave dead trees and debris alone to break down and give back to the soil from which they grew. Wildlife, too, will appreciate the abundant real estate available and, in turn, leave the living not-yet-finished real estate alone. I’m personally a big fan of this school of thought for all of those reasons. Lastly and to many, most importantly, it can simply mean less work which will translate to less decay in our wallets.