LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

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LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby jajones » December 4th, 2009, 6:58 am

I've been seeing some trails this fall where the leaves have either been blown off or raked off in sections.

I'd ask anyone considering doing this to reconsider the practice.

Leaves are part of the detritus that provide structure and fiber in the soil. In other words, they help keep the soil together once they are broken down and worked in. A trail that is deprived of leaves ends up much like a colon that is deprived of fiber -- a long channel of greasy and gooey *beep*.

I've never understood the practice of removing leaves. When then initially fall, they can cause some limited issues with trail visibility and can initially be slippery right after rain. However, on most of our trails that get a fair degree of use, they are quickly broken down and end up actually absorbing much of the pre-winter November rains that we typically get, actually drying out and enhancing the trail tread rideability.

Don't believe me? Go out to a trail like the Poto this time of year a day after some rain. Ride the less-sandy loam or clay sections where leaves have not been removed. They consist of crushed up leaves and a nice dry trail tread. Then, you will notice some sections where the Poto's (in)famous "Sandman" decided it was a good idea to scrub off select 20 yard sections of downed foliage. You'll note that these sections are greasy as *beep* and a lot more sketchy than any section with newly downed leaves ever is.

Repeat after me...

LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE

As an aside, if anyone has a burning desire wherein they just have to push leaves around in fall, my yard can use some work. :wink:
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby jajones » December 4th, 2009, 7:04 am

P.S. My post, of course, should not be taken to mean that one shouldn't remove leaves from old school waterbar drainage channels -- a necessary fall ritual on many of our trails in order to facilitate drainage and prevent erosion on fall line trails.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby centralRH » December 4th, 2009, 7:10 am

I don't think you can make a blanket statement for all our trails. I think it depends on soil type, trail construction, number of users, and how long the trail has been in existence. Anyway, leave the leaves on the Poto.

This topic has been discussed several times on MTBR; the latest http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=569959
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby utabintarbo » December 4th, 2009, 7:38 am

centralRH wrote:I don't think you can make a blanket statement for all our trails. I think it depends on soil type, trail construction, number of users, and how long the trail has been in existence. Anyway, leave the leaves on the Poto.


Agreed. In addition, on some trails, fewer leaves left on in the fall can mean an earlier safe entrance onto them in the spring.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby jacked » December 4th, 2009, 8:18 am

I'm experimenting at Bennett Park this year. All of the pines where blown, but much of that trail is a gravel base and the combination of needles and leaves makes it very difficult to find sections of the trail. We left the jungles alone as well as most of the hardwoods. The gully, trillium and north shore are all blown. We'll see how it turns out.

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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby mr_opjones » December 4th, 2009, 8:54 am

Let the Leaves Lie where they Lay
GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE!!

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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby FrankenFuel95 » December 4th, 2009, 9:11 am

Image

Image

RUH RUH RUH RUH RUH!

There certainly appears to be two schools of thought on this one that's for sure.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Scotty » December 4th, 2009, 10:19 am

FrankenFuel95 wrote:
There certainly appears to be two schools of thought on this one that's for sure.


Figures it would be on a Trek. AND the dude drives a Chevy. :roll:
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby FrankenFuel95 » December 4th, 2009, 10:31 am

Scotty wrote:
FrankenFuel95 wrote:
There certainly appears to be two schools of thought on this one that's for sure.


Figures it would be on a Trek. AND the dude drives a Chevy. :roll:


:lol: Always hatin'. :lol:
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby scat silvurz » December 4th, 2009, 11:01 am

much like a colon that is deprived of fiber


not sure how that one works out....maybe someone who eats too much cheese, perhaps?


I know that the Novi Treefarm trail has been expertly blown this fall [gas powered leafblower] - it's been tooted loudly on this forum to much rave reviews, so it will be a good experiment to see how it works out. Years back, I'd spent many a nice day riding, raking the leaves off the foresty portions of trail at the Novi Treefarm, since it was nearly impossible to see where the trail went had I not done this....I've not seen any detriment to doing this at the Novi, so maybe the soil conditions there take well to such drastic trail manicuring.

I would say the local TC would know best on how the trail soils are best managed, blanket statements are useful only to ring the dinner bell of awareness...your mileage may vary and objects in the mirror may appear smaller...
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby dirt » December 4th, 2009, 11:30 am

scat silvurz wrote:I know that the Novi Treefarm trail has been expertly blown this fall [gas powered leafblower] - it's been tooted loudly on this forum to much rave reviews


Then again, there are about a half dozen post saying that the trail has been 'greasy' or 'slick', which is exactly what is stated can happen when the leaves are removed. My personal experience has been that de-leafed trails tend to get a lot slicker then trails that have the leaves left on.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby wingzz » December 4th, 2009, 12:01 pm

Despite what Bob wants I do not clear Stony and dont plan on it
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby mverona » December 4th, 2009, 12:17 pm

Rode Tree Farm on Wed night and it was a greazy slizut. That trail usually is tho.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby scat silvurz » December 4th, 2009, 1:01 pm

this time of year all the trails get greazy
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Loren » December 4th, 2009, 1:02 pm

Most but not all sections of the treefarm were cleared. IMO, there is not an appreciable difference in the current "greasiness" of the sections that were cleared and the sections that were not, but it will be interesting to watch conditions evolve over winter and spring. It's an experiment.

Most of the pro and con arguments have already been made on mbtr, and anyone interested should do the research.

One issue that we've had at the farm that isn't frequently cited is the creation of 'social' trails, where riders become unsure of where the leaf covered trail is and shortcut corners or just head off into the woods until they find the trail again. As other riders follow, new trail develops. There were a number of these creative re-routes that I corrected in expert and swamp by making the established trail obvious again.
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