If you find
Soils are fragile
Bare ground is ripe for weed invasion and soil erosion
Bare ground loses more moisture than ground covered by living or dead plant matter
Any living or dead material lying on the soil surface is litter. It litters the ground and is a good thing.
This is distinct from the other litter that is thrown out by humans. That is mostly packaging waste and the like scattered around the town or countryside. It is definitely not a good thing.
Plant litter breaks down and in the process provides food for soil organisms and eventually for plants and as a result for your crops and animals.
- protects soil from raindrop impact
- protects soil from erosion
- protects soil from compaction by vehicles and the impact of animals’ hoofs
- protects soil from drying out
- slows water and as a result increases the amount that soaks in or infiltrates
- retains nutrients and organic matter that you have paid for or grown; as well as
- makes it harder for weeds to establish.
Basically any ground that is not covered by living or dead plant material is at risk of eroding, drying out and losing nutrients.
Litter is one of the best defences against losing the real capital of the farm — the soil and its productive capacity.