What To Do With Fallen Leaves

If you’ve got pushy neighbors or you live in a residence ruled by a homeowners association, allowing the fallen leaves to collect in your yard isn’t an option.  Not only is raking or blowing them a hassle, but figuring out how to dispose of them is an added concern.  Every year, townships and boroughs all over the country send out massive gas guzzling trucks to collect leaves from in front of people’s homes, however you’re responsible for getting them out to the curb.  There’s got to be a better way to handle the leaves, right?

Well there is, there are a lot of better ways to get rid of your leaves and none of them involve actually dragging them out to the curb for the truck to suck them up.  Leaves are biodegradable and can be easily used for a lot of other purposes that most people don’t think about as they’re hauling large plastic bags to the garbage to throw them away.  They’re highly recyclable and can function in many different ways.  Here are just a few ideas to get you started before raking season really begins.

Reuse and Recycle

  1. Compost – If you’re a hard-core gardener during the summer months, there is no better way to make sure your plants get a good start than with a great homemade fertilizer. Combine your raked leaves with your grass clippings, soil, egg shells, and organic trash from inside your home.  Make sure you have a way to seal the trash, however, or there could be a foul smell associated with the rotting organic material.  However, if you’re able to keep adding to it through the fall and winter, your spring garden will receive a lovely treat and your veggies will be grown organically.
  2. Mulch – Yes, the mulch that you’re paying for can easily be considered substandard when you make your own with your leftover leaves. Where traditional wood mulch can stain the foundation, siding, or pale colored brick of your home due to mold spores.  Leaves don’t do that.  The biggest bonus, however, this type of mulch is completely free!
  3. Donation – Lots of community gardens use leaves for composting or mulch purposes and since they rarely can generate enough to sustain it themselves, they look for donations from outside sources. If you’re going to bag them up anyway, head down to your local community garden and give them your leftover leaves.  They’ll be put to good use and they’re out of your hair.
  4. Projects – Leaves a great tool for craft projects as they’re easy to press and dry out and they make great additions to fall decorations and arrangements. You can also use them to educate your youngsters about the different types of trees and the different parts of the leaves themselves.  If you don’t have kids at home, ask your local school district if they would like some of them for future projects and crafts.
  5. Fall Décor – They make leaf bags that are shaped to look like jack o’lanterns and it’s a super easy and cheap way to clean up and bag your leaves for future use. Another purpose for all of the leaves in your yard is building a homemade scarecrow to keep the birds away or simply frighten the neighborhood kids during trick or treat. Either way, it’s a great way to get your kids involved with yard cleanup.

While the task of raking the yard is less than ideal, you could make a day of it by getting the whole family involved.  Make a huge pile and take turns jumping into it, or talk about what you’re going to do with them as you’re raking.  Let the kids know that they don’t have to be thrown away in big black trash bags when they can be used for many different purposes.

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