Autumn is always the time of year when you begin to wonder what we are going to do with all those leaves that will soon be dropping from the trees around our yards and landscapes. While the leaves will decompose if left on the ground, you may prefer to cleanup a yard and dispose of autumn leaves.
The simplest way is to rake them, bag them and send them off to landfill or burn them.
This is a waste of valuable organic matter and nutrients which are in the leaves not to mention the fire hazard if you choose to burn them.
However, there are several alternatives for leaf disposal:
1. Call your city hall and ask about an autumn cleanup policy. Many areas of the United States and Canada have specific regulations for you to follow when you cleanup a yard.
2. Composting is the best way to turn all those fall leaves into a very useful and valuable soil amendment. This is an earth-friendly way to cleanup a yard. You can use the decomposed leaves to fertilize your garden in the spring.
a) Think about shredding leaves before you compost them. Shredded leaves are much easier to turn in a compost pile. These leaves will also break down much faster than whole leaves. You don’t need to shred leaves, but it’s easily done by running over them with a lawn mower.
b) Mix them with a few grass clippings, composted manure, or generous amounts of fertilizer, the leaves can be reduced to nature’s “black gold” for your gardening needs
c) Turn your compost pile every 4 or 5 days. Using a manure fork, mix the compost so that the material that was on the top is now shifted into the middle of the pile. Also try to bring some of the compost from the bottom up to the top of the pile.
3. Another option for leaf disposal is to use the leaves as mulching material. Instead of buying bag after bag of mulch, let Mother Nature help you save some money. Mulch the leaves into small pieces with your mower. When you cleanup a yard like this, you will leave the small pieces on the lawn to work their way into the soil. Mulched leaves will enrich your soil in the spring.
4. The best way to collect leaves is by using the lawn mower bagging attachment. Collecting the leaves with the mower helps to shred and greatly reduce the bulk.
However, you can also cleanup, a yard with a leaf vacuum and bags and dispose of leaves appropriately.