(WKBN) – Summer was hot, school has started and now fall is coming. Soon, the leaves will change colors and fall. Maybe this is the year to turn over a new leaf and take a different approach to managing them.

It won’t be long before the leaves start falling. Some of you are seeing it already and know it takes work. The decision comes from you picking a balance between a well-manicured lawn, bettering your soil and helping insects.

“Leaf litter helps if you chop it up and you use it to mulch. It adds that organic matter back into your soil, as well as it adds magnesium, potassium and calcium back into your soil,” said Kristen Eisenhauer, an educator with OSU Extension Mahoning County.

A leaf pile can also help insects overwinter and lay eggs. Gently rake the leaves and put them in a pile, but away from your house or garden because there can be good insects and bad insects in that leaf pile.

“But insects are tough. They’re meant to be able to sustain themselves and the cocoons are meant to be able to protect them,” Eisenhauer said.

The insects can complete their lifecycle.

You can even place leaves around trees and it will suppress weeds around the base. If you leave the leaves on the ground, it will mat down and keep the grass from growing. If you choose to chop the leaves up, don’t waste it — use the mulch wisely.

“This can be a great thing to add back into a garden or a flower bed or even chopping it up really fine and adding it back into your lawn,” Eisenhauer said.

Pick what’s most important to you and craft your approach around it.

Fireflies have already laid their eggs. They’re not going to be in the leaf litter, but most likely in flower beds.