Leaf Clean Up – the Green Living Way

In Landscaping on

Fall landscapes look so beautiful due to colorful leaves.  The colors can be stunning. If you are a lover of trees alike I am you know a bit of leaf clean up awaits you every fall shortly after the leaves drop to the ground. You may want to be cognizant of your garden design with how many trees it should include since trees are a bit of work.

Leaf Clean up Varies

Does your municipality pick up leaves curbside? Do you have to bag them? Or, is your property large so that you have to hire your landscaper to pick them up and dispose of them at your expense?

Municipalities are charging increasingly higher fees to pay for leaf handling. If you are responsible for the leaf pick up on your property expect to pay high dump fees every year.

Keeping Your Leaves

Green living includes variety, recycling, and composting strategies.  So why not keep the leaves your trees’ make on your property? They make great compost material as brown matter alongside grass clippings, for example.  But usually, there are way more leaves than you know what to do with.  Simply piling them up and hauling them to an out-of-the-way corner on your property is not a good option, since you will create huge piles and it takes way more than a season to decompose the full leaves.

The Green Living Handling of Leaves

Hauling your leaves to the local transfer station in most towns means that your leaves will likely be composted. Most towns compost their leaf and yard waste these days since it remains to be the most cost-effective way to handle the waste over burning the organic matter. That’s a good thing!

Here is another option which most landscapers, unfortunately, do not even know about, or pretend not to know about: Attach a leaf shredder to the front of their commercial movers and shred a pile of leaves down to small, almost mulch like pieces.  Your leaf pile should be less than a 1/4 in volume. You can then spread this shredded material around your property.  We find its the perfect material to spread around plants to protect them against harsh winter temps. You can see how this is done in the episode “Leaf Shredding” from Ideas For Your Home, hosted by Sabine Schoenberg on SHG Living.

Since the leaves were shredded into small pieces, these small pieces can and will now compost into healthy new soil within a year or two. In other words, you will also create new nutritious soil this way.

Objections From Your Landscaper

Many landscapers do not want to change their usual process of hauling away leaves and charging back their customers for the dumping fees.  They might tell you it takes way more time to gather, shred down and spread around the leaf material.  The truth is at the end of the day, it’s about the same time.  But if you add in next year’s savings on mulching and soil you are likely to find yourself financially ahead. Green Living with this composting technique is cost-effective.

The Truth About Eco-Friendly, Green Living

Eco-friendly practices are mostly a mind-set and a change of habits. Reluctant landscapers usually tell their homeowners, that green living approaches including l leaf shredding are more expensive. It just isn’t so. This is also how they sell homeowners on the terrible habit of spraying heavy chemicals against weeds.  These chemical treatments are expensive – why not spend the same money for someone to weed your lawn instead? Your kids and your pets are predominantly playing your lawn.  It is not worth their health and your peace of mind to have them playing on a healthy lawn free of toxic chemical sprays?

While some spraying of hemlocks or boxwoods, for example, might be unavoidable given today’s garden pests.  Although there now appears to be an effective new organic application against boxwood blight – stay tuned! For all of these reasons, why not start to switch over your gardening practices?!  Practice your eco-friendly, green living mindset by shredding and using your leaves this season.