Falling Leaves

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I started to rake the leaves from my yard yesterday when I noticed that the trees were still about half full of leaves ready to fall.
None of my neighbors have raked the leaves from their lawn and since I live on the end of a cul-de-sac, I will get most of their autumn junk in a few weeks anyway.
I figure about the first of January the trees will be bare and most of my neighbor's leaves will be in my yard.
Put the tools away and spent the rest of the day listening to Christmas carols and enjoying dozing in front of the fireplace.
January will be here soon enough.
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No such thing as too many leaves. If I had vast extras I'd build a broad chickenwire cage for them & pile them in it as high as possible & keep 'em wet, because when after a few months these compact down into pure wholesome black leafmold, it's just one of the most beautiful topcoating composts looking like the richest black loam, suppressing weeds while feeding everything intentionally planted, & a great aid to the beneficial microorganisms that produce nitogren (there's not much nitrogen in leafmold but it encourages the best nitrogen production by microorganisms). As it stands, I have only a few extra leaves, which I stuff in a big black bags & hide way back under the porch, where they'll turn to good leafmould without attention. There's never enough & I always end up having to buy some fully composted steer manure when topcoating gardens; it would be so great to have endless amounts of free homemade leafmold, but a huge bag of leaves breaks down into only a little leafmold. The majority of the leaves I sweep off the grass directly into gardens as natural winter mulch which keeps down weeds by turning to leafmold in-situ by spring (in dryer zones they might take longer to break down in situ). I only have to be careful not to permit them to smother tiny things, & to knock them out of our undergrowth shrubs; but the leaves definitely keep weeds down to a minimum, & perhaps because we have rainy autumns & winters, they do not blow away from the places I've spread them through. By spring the most that remains of them are a few leaf-skeletons from the largest leaves. I use exceedingly little artificial fertilizer, but by keeping the leaves & chopped-up prunings as mulch, nutrients are not much removed from the woodland-style gardens.
-paghat the ratgirl
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paghat wrote:

people.
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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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Even if they're 80% oak? Wondering about the acidity. I usually rake them away from the gardens and into the woods, but maybe shouldn't? Around the azaleas, I piled them as mulch. I suppose they could go on the gardens, then be offset by wood ashes.
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Our clay has a high ph. I make huge piles like Cat Daddy. I have 2 shredders and I mix all types of leaves. I always have 2 piles going - a new and an aged one.
Rachel wrote:

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
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oak leaves and pine needles despite their acidity break down to a good neutral ph once they compost.............madgardener

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madgardener wrote:

YOU GO, girl!

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
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paghat wrote"

I understand where you're coming from, and from a practical level, one person, or even one family couldn't collect what would be considered "too many leaves". But a decade and a half ago, I worked for the public works department of a large Midwest city. For five weeks each fall we had trucks and tractors with leaf pushers, moving piles of leaves in the streets into big piles. End loaders and tractors then pushed them into garbage packers that had pans and hoppers attached to them. Three times a day two dozen garbage packers full of leaves, along with a half dozen full-size Vac-Alls, would converge at the dump. The resulting piles were 25 feet tall, 50 feet wide, and nearly a 1/4 of a mile long each year. It would take three to five years, with usually no more than one chance to turn a pile, for them to decompose. The DNR even required special drainage to keep the run-off away from the stream running next to the leaf dump. I believe that might qualify as too many leaves. (The last year I lived in that city a "recycling" company appeared on the scenes, and actually paid the city a couple of cents a load for the leaves.)
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Warren H.

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Nah, there are never too many leaves........... Just not enough urban planning... Although I hope to stop "diverting" my neighbours' leaves from the weekly pick-up soon. My compost heap is about 24' x 12' x 6' and will be overwhelming to distribute come Spring..........
Hornsby Bend is....... http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/hornsby / "Hornsby Bend is - Austin's recycling center for sewage and yard trimmings - the most popular birdwatching site in the Austin area - a research site for urban ecology, biosolids, ecological restoration, and the soil food web - a demonstration site for Green Building."
The Hornsby Bend Biosolids Treatment Facility http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/hornsby/facility.html "The remaining 55% of the dried biosolids are combined with the ground tree trimmings from the City's Electric Utility and the City's yard trimming stream for composting. The screened product is sold as "Dilllo Dirt" through local landscapers, garden centers, and nurseries. Over 100,000 cubic yards of materials are diverted from land fills by this program annually." "The lagoon sidestream treatment system cleans rain water and processed water collect on the sight and, after final "polishing" through five acre aquatic green house, the water is used to irrigate the on-sight farm. This lagoon system covers three acre and attracts thousands of migrating birds (and bird watchers) each Spring and Fall."
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Dang, dude. My kind of people. Humongous pile! Man, oh man, leaf mold can make dead people come back to life.
You guys in the Hill country are pretty hip. I wish Houston would get " grow green" and take the 1 billion spent on sports arenas and put it in an environmental developmental fund and related funds.
cat daddy wrote:

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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I've suspected for some time that I don't garden; I merely compost and need something to do with the results. The pile is triple the size I normally do, as the neighbours and weather were particularly cooperative this year. And, I see a four-wheeled, high-sided garden wagon in my future............. I hadn't realized the extent of the operation at Hornsby Bend or seen the wildlife habitat created as the result. I've seen the rows of compost for making Dillo Dirt, but I didn't know they had an aquatic greenhouse to "polish" the water. It seems a pretty perfect model for dealing with two significant problems.

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wrote:

Literal laugh out loud. I can sympathize. Sometimes I think I buy some fruit & veg not so much in anticipation of eating, but thinking how useful the peels will be in the compost pile. :-)
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He, he. Shopping at Sam's for the last 10 years makes me always buy things in pairs. I can't stand items running out or breaking down.
Frogleg wrote:

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
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cat daddy wrote:

Sounds just like me. A symbol to the subdivision.

("Power one")

Yes, the website was informative. Uses interns from UT - whooop! (wears an Aggie cap becuase he has compassion for them for trying so hard)

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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If the leaves are covering your grass, and you want to keep your lawn, you will want to rake up the leaves on a regular basis. My husband tried the "wait until all the leaves fall and then rake" tactic the first year in our house. The leaves smothered the grass and we had no lawn to speak of the next spring. Now we rake up the leaves each week, or just run the lawn mower over the yard, set on mulch mode.
Heidi
Give 'em Hell Harry wrote:

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Not good for the grass to keep leaves on it. They need all the light they can get for a healthy summer lawn next year. Pile the leaves on the compost pile or in your vegetable garden. This is a good time to clean and sharpen all your garden tools.
On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 18:02:54 GMT, "Give 'em Hell Harry"

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- Tallahassee, FL - VEGETARIAN: An Indian word meaning "lousy hunter."
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Tallahassee - beautiful place. State Capitol area is nice, also.
Jim Lewis wrote:

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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- Tallahassee, FL -VEGETARIAN:

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Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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Interesting and informative thread (for a beginner like me!).
Having just moved into my new house and having lots of grass covered with lots of leaves, I now gather that I should rake this ASAP to protect my grass. I was going to do the 'wait until they've all fallen' thing, but will learn from other's mistakes and get on it as soon as.
Question... Are the leaves that have gone crunchy (i.e. most of them) worth saving for composting?
Going by paghat's post, I'm figuring on keeping the leaves on the flowerbeds for turning to leafmold and to keep weeds to a minimum and putting the surplus on my compost pile (which was already here). Sound like a plan? TIA -- Lynda
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