Sustainable Leaf Management Practices

Leaves are a bit slow to fall this year, but fall they will! The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) recommends that property owners mulch and compost their leaves for the benefit of the environment and soil.

The NYSDEC article Leaf Me Alone: Why You Should Keep Your Leaves in Your Yard advises “As the leaves continue to fall and turn our lawns into colorful mosaics of bright reds, yellows and oranges, many of us will use our time and/or money to rid our lawns of them. Actually, keeping our leaves nearby is a simpler, more environmentally friendly solution, as leaves contain nutrients that are good for the soil.

Leaves that are bagged for trash pickup, and most collected in bulk by municipalities, head to landfills where they create ecological problems: leaf waste takes up precious landfill space, and the energy produced by decaying leaves becomes methane gas instead of valuable organic mulch.

When it comes to managing leaves, personal choice makes the best sense. Homeowners can go the sustainable (and affordable) route and mulch or compost leaves to enrich their soil, or they can hire a local landscape service to remove and manage their leaves at their convenience. In all cases, please remember to keep leaves out of gutters and swales to prevent drainage problems.

Resources to learn more about environmentally-friendly leaf management:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Tips:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/NYSDEC/bulletins/26637b7

Cornell Cooperative Extension Tips:

http://ccetompkins.org/resources/compost-leaf-composting