Got Leaves?

Leaves, leaves, everywhere!  Anyone with trees and shrubs around their home is experiencing a bounty of fallen leaves this time of year. And while fall colors can be visually stunning, what does one do with all those fallen leaves after the kids are finished having leaf fights and jumping into leaf piles? Here are a few ideas that will have you turning those brown, red and green leaves into gold for your yard and our city.

  1. Create a compost pile. Green waste from your yard and garden accounts for approximately 25% of the material being hauled from your home each week. By composting, you can improve your soil for a more productive vegetable or flower garden, and help your community at the same time. Visit LA Sanitation’s Composting Bins Sale Events and Workshops Schedule to get started!
  2. Make a mulch pile. It’s pretty easy to create mulch, which is simply leaves, grass clippings and wood chippings mixed together. Mulch provides a much-needed layer of protection on top of dirt, preventing erosion, conserving moisture, suppressing weed growth and helping soil maintain an even temperature. First, chop fallen leaves into small pieces and create the mulch pile’s base with them and grass clippings. Second, add wood chips. Renting a wood chipper from a local home improvement store may be necessary to get branches and limbs cut into small pieces. Place those wood chips on top of the leaf pile and let the pile “set” all winter long. In the spring, you’ll have mulch to spread over plantings.
  3. NEVER rake or sweep leaves or grass clippings into the gutter or street! Leaves and yard clippings that make their way into corner catch basins can ultimately clog storm drains, creating local street flooding problems during rainstorms.
  4. If you’ve just got too many leaves to deal with, then please place leftover leaves in your City-issued green bin. LA Sanitation crews will take those leaves and turn them into mulch. LA Sanitation offers a Free Mulch Give-Away Program by providing free quality mulch at 11 different locations throughout Los Angeles.

Please don’t think that leaves are something to get rid of this autumn! Fallen leaves are a valuable resource that can enrich your garden and yard. By composting or mulching them or placing them in your green bin, you’ll be doing your part to close the loop to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink our resources here in LA.

Photos courtesy of Joanna Lee Osborn and Joyce Amaro.

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