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
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.
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
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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.
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.)
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.......
"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
"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."
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:
Celestial Habitats by J. Kolenovsky
2003 Honorable Mention Award, Keep Houston Beautiful
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
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
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.
Give 'em Hell Harry wrote:
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"
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.
Are the leaves that have gone crunchy (i.e. most of them) worth saving for
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
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