Fall colors on the trees are a well appreciated sight in Wisconsin each year. As those leaves hit the ground though, many homeowners start to grumble about how best to clean them up.
Sam Weis of Clean Wisconsin says there are many things to keep in mind as you rake the yard this fall. Rather than just bagging them up or having them hauled away, consider putting them to use at home.
Weis says using a mulching mower, you can just run over the leaves and fertilize your yard at the same time. They can also be added to compost bins, but be sure to include fruit and vegetable scraps as well to control the nitrogen content. Finally, they can also be mulched up and mixed into flower beds and vegetable gardens to help improve the soil next spring.
As for what not to do, Weis says you should avoid burning leaves if at all possible, even if it is allowed in your area. He says burning leaves releases many particulates and carcinogens into the air that can be bad for your health and the environment.
Putting leaves in the trash is also illegal in Wisconsin.
Many cities offer curbside pick-up for leaves during the fall months. If you’re taking advantage of that option, Weis says you should avoid raking them out to the curb until just before a scheduled pick-up. That’s because water running through the leaves can wash phosphorous into local lakes and rivers, resulting in the odorous and annoying algae blooms that pollute many waterways each summer. They also create the risk of clogging local storm sewer systems.