Leaves Come Tumbling Down

October 13, 2008 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

What a beautiful time of year!  I thought life would slow down now that summer is over, but quite the opposite has happened.  Looking forward to the long winter, it seems as though everyone is trying to squeeze in a few last nice days outside.  Even things like yardwork take on a somewhat enjoyable feel with our recent weather, but I would much rather be talking a walk, playing football, or be carving a pumpkin than raking and bagging all those leaves!

This past Saturday, at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha I assisted with a presentation on alternative ways to deal with leaves.  Many people spend hours raking and bagging or, worse, raking and burning.  These traditional ways to handle leaves are costly, both economically and environmentally.
  • Economically, it is very costly for municipalities to provide leaf collection and disposal to residents.  
  • Environmentally, picking up leaves uses a lot of natural resources.  Also, when you remove leaves from your property you are also removing all of the nutrients from your yard that went into making those leaves.
  • Environmentally, burning leaves creates large amounts of very small particulates that cause air pollution.  This air pollution can be especially harmful for our youngest and oldest residents and anyone with asthma or heart problems.  For more information about local air quality, visit the DNR’s air quality website.
So, what to do?  Keep your leaves on your property and allow them to replenish the soil by naturally and quikly breaking down.  There are several options that allow you to quickly handle our fall visitors.
  1. Mulch in Place.  Using a sharp, regular lawn mower blade, or a special mulching blade in your regular mower, cut your grass like normal.  By mowing over the leaves (sometimes requiring an extra pass) you allow them to filter down to the soil and quickly break down, getting your lawn ready for winter.  This can work for a large or small amout of leaves.  The key is to never let the leaves sit on the lawn for more than 4 days and once cut, to make sure that you can see the tips of the grass blades.
  2. Compost.  Use our quick leaf composting recipe to quickly make compost out of all of your leaves.  This is faster than traditional composting and allows you to use the compost on your lawn or any other plantings you will do in the spring. 
Now with all this extra time, go grab your bike and go for a ride on one of the great local trails!
Recycle More,
recycle raccoon

Entry filed under: Air, Compost, Little Action, Local Interest. Tags: , , , .

Recycling MORE is now easier for Wisconsin Residents! Quick Leaf Composting

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