How to Clean Up Fallen Leaves to Protect our Lakes
With autumn officially starting and the temperature getting chillier, many leaves on the trees have begun turning vibrant yellows and reds. Leaves are FALL-ing from the trees.
When I was in elementary school, fall was my favourite season. The schoolyard had two giant trees on a hill, and I would spend recess running around with my friends trying to catch leaves as they fell from the sky.
Now I wonder what to do with leaves that have fallen in my yard. Here are some key things to keep in mind for lake friendly leaf collection:
Make sure leaves don’t clog storm drains
Clean out your gutters. This helps reduce the likelihood leaves will blow into streets and also will keep them from clogging your downspout.
Keep leaves off driveways, porches, and basically, anywhere that isn’t soil or yard. Leaves decompose and release their nutrients onto whatever substance they fall on. Soil and grass will absorb nutrients. But on hard substances, nutrients are likely to flow into storm drains. Then these nutrients are added to our streams, rivers, and lakes. Our precious freshwater ways already have an excess of nutrients.
Use your lawnmower to turn leaves into nutrient-rich mulch
Mow the leaves that have fallen on your yard to turn them into mulch. Some mowers even have a mulch setting. The leaves will decompose and provide nutrients to your lawn.
Or rake up your leaves, have fun, and then compost them
Rake leaves into a massive pile. As a kid, did you ever jump in a pile of leaves as a fun fall activity? Continue that tradition with your kids, or maybe jump in the pile of leaves yourself. You’re never too old for some silly fun in your life.
Put leaves in your compost or, if you live in the city, put them out for the city to pick up.
Instead of using yard waste bags, you can use reusable plastic or metal bins without lids. Reusing bins also saves you money.
Don’t burn leaves. Leaf fires are often very smoky, can be harmful to your lungs, and create extra air pollution.
To collect leaves or not to collect leaves, that might seem like the environmentally friendly question. But when it comes to the health of our lakes, it’s better to collect them or mow them into mulch.
To learn more Lake Friendly actions you can take in your yard, visit us here: lakefriendly.ca/homes