How can I best accomplish fall clean up?
Keep in mind that fall clean up does not mean that your garden must be immaculate. In fact, leaving some fallen leaves and twigs around and especially over the planting beds can be beneficial. This type of cover prevents soil erosion and moderates soil temperature. Add your autumn debris of dry leaves, spent annuals and perennials, pruned twigs, weeds, etc. to your compost pile so next spring and summer you can use the finished compost to enrich your planting areas. Leaving small areas of weeds, branches and leaves can also provide habitats for small wildlife. It is important to remember that pristine landscapes are unnatural and can be devoid of beneficial birds, insects and wildlife.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service