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For a Greener Hill: Leaves

Submitted by Editor on November 8, 2011 – 10:07 pm | Print or Email »No Comment

by Jessica Miller (Emery Street) | This column provides tips on reducing waste while saving money.

It is time to collect those leaves again. They have so much to offer, so don’t burn them! Burning leaves creates air pollution, may be dangerous, and is an odor nuisance to neighbors. Branches should be taken to a brush site, and leaves gathered in tall paper bags. In Eau Claire, most waste management companies will pick up 10 bags of leaves in November at no extra cost.

If you have more than 10 bags, fear not. Leaves are essential for a rich compost. They are the dark matter that should be mixed to the green matter (grass and such). If you can, mulching them with a lawnmower is ideal so they break up easily. However, I’ve always put them whole in my compost and they haven’t caused any problems. I use those clumps later in the spring to cover spots where I don’t want weed to grow.

In addition, you can use leaves to cover flower beds before winter. It creates insulation and will break up in the spring for a bit of organic matter. I think leaves also look pretty. I’m never in a hurry to rake them unless freezing rain is in the forecast, as they can then become slippery and create hazards. Raking is also good exercise. Done right, it’s a great ab workout. You can also often find groups who will rake as part of fundraising events. So all you do, in the end, is watch those leaves work for you.

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