Fall is here once again! Now the trees are shedding their leaves and creating a rainbow of debris on our yards. While some may view this annual happening as a nuisance, it should be viewed as a marvelous opportunity to make your yard a more ecologically friendly space.
In the past, armies of homeowners have taken up their leaf blowers and rakes to remove all traces of leaves, put them in bags, and set them by the curb to be taken to the dump. Some have also raked or blown them into the street, but this is not permitted in most municipalities. But, in recent years, an alternative plan of action has been gaining popularity: using this abundance to our advantage!
Dead leaves are chock-full of the same nutrients you pay $$ for come spring to get your yard looking green and lush (think carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus). Fallen leaves also provide a cosy winter home for a variety of wildlife and help prevent weed growth in your yard. That said, too many leaves can lead to yellow spots in your grass, so read on for recommendations on how best to manage the situation.
You have a few options when it comes to ecologically managing your leaf litter. But, there is one important step before you undertake any other actions: pick up all the pet waste in your yard and dispose of it properly. Once that fun task is done, here’s a few ideas for what to do next.
- Mow your leaves. This will chop them up into small pieces that will more readily decay. This will also aid in preventing dead spots in your grass. Try to mow the leaves before they get to be 4 inches deep.
- Compost your leaves or make leaf mold! You can create beautiful compost with leaves, grass clippings, and food waste. For more information, check out this site.
- Use your leaves in place of mulch around plants or on bare soil.
- Rake the leaves to the edge of your yard for your local Department of Public Works to pick up. Here is more information by municipality:
- Wilkinsburg https://www.wilkinsburgpa.gov/leaf/
- Edgewood http://www.edgewood.pgh.pa.us/edgewood-leaf-pickup.htm
- Swissvale http://www.swissvaleborough.com/residents/garbage-recycling.aspx
- City of Pittsburgh https://pittsburghpa.gov/dpw/leaf-waste
When cleaning up your yard, please remember that leaves in the street spell trouble. When it rains, they clog up storm drains, creating extra work for busy DPW employees. Additionally, when they decompose, they release nutrients that, when in abundance, can lead to algal blooms in nearby waterways
We hope this inspires you get outside and take advantage of all the Fall abundance that nature has to offer!