Can I pile leaves around the base of a tree?

In the fall, as I'm raking leaves in my yard, is it okay for me to leave them piled up around the base of a tree?
Submitted by kevinsterrett15

It's OK to pile leaves over the root zone of trees, but avoid piling them up against the trunk. Leaves piled against the trunk can hold in moisture that would lead to decay or rot. And, the leaves could also provide habitat for voles that might chew the bark off the tree. You could prevent the latter by encircling the trunk with hardware cloth.

Answered by DSchrock
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Define 'piled'. It's ok to rake leaves around a tree, in nature that's where they land and stay. However, they should not be piled around the trunk in a big mass. They can cause moisture to build up and allow disease and pests to damage the tree. It's best to spread them out in a ring (or whatever shape you want) a few inches deep, just keep them from being right up against the trunk.
Submitted by Croakie_SC zone 8