How many of us reflexively pile our leaves in the street by the curb waiting for noisy City trucks to vacuum them up, then collect leaf mulch from the City or buy bagged mulch in the spring?
How many of us realize that just 30 minutes of using a gas leaf blower can emit more pollutants than driving 3,900 miles in a Ford F-150, according to Edmunds.com?
How many of us know that, in just 2019, the City’s Public Works crews removed 308,000 pounds of debris — much of it leaves — from our stormwater system?
What if you just left your leaves in your garden? The benefits are many!
As leaves decompose, they feed your trees and planting beds, enrich the soil and act as an overwinter blanket that protects plant roots.
Leaves create habitat for overwintering or hibernating butterfly pupae and other helpful habitat insects.
Saved or bagged leaves are the perfect “browns” for a better composting mixture when spring grass clippings are plentiful.
Leaves pulverized into small pieces will decompose and feed your lawn — free lawn fertilizer!
Humans benefit from less noise and air pollution from loud gas-powered leaf blowers.
Local streams and the Chesapeake Bay stay cleaner.
If you must remove some leaves from your property, rake them to the edge of your yard near, but not into, the street. If you bag leaves for removal use paper yard waste bags, never plastic.
In the spring, leaves in the garden beds can be covered with wood mulch, added to compost piles, or put into yard waste bags. Use rakes and a tarp to easily move whole leaves. After a winter of absorbing nutrients and creating wildlife habitat, your plants will thrive!