Growing leaf piles are “gold” for gardeners who take advantage of the free nutrients that can be mulched or composted to replenish lawns and gardens.

Replenish your lawn with grasscycling

One of the easiest ways to reap the benefit of leaves is to leave them on the lawn and mow over them. This can be accomplished with up to an inch of fallen leaves at a time. Grasscycling leaves and grass clippings returns nutrients to the soil and reduces the need for fertilizing.

Start a backyard compost

An excess of leaves and yard waste can be composted with food waste in a backyard compost pile. The Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends composting yard waste to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills and for a finished compost that improves garden and landscape soils. There are many different types of compost bins and tips for composting by the Johnson County Master Gardeners.

Use city yard waste collections

If your trees are large and leaf piles are high, take advantage of city services that will collect and compost them for you. Many local cities are now collecting leaf and brush waste that will be sent to large composting sites and turned into mulch and compost. For more information, contact your city or county directly, or check for collection facilities at www.recyclespot.org.

Kansas City, MO

Missouri Organic Recycling receives all of the yard waste collected in Kansas City, MO. Curbside collection with be held December 12-16 in north Kansas City, December 5-9 in central Kansas City and November 28 – December 2 in south Kansas City. Residents can also drop off brush for free every Saturday in Grandview, MO at 1815 N. Chouteau Trafficway and in Raytown, MO at 10301 Raytown Road. Learn more at Kansas City Water Services.

Johnson County, KS

Johnson County residents can drop off yard waste with some local businesses, including:

The City of Olathe collects yard waste at its composting facility for its residents. The materials are composted and offered back to Olathe residents free of charge. For more information, visit www.jocogov.org.

Protect our waterways

When falling, crunchy leaves are everywhere, it’s easy to see “if it’s on the ground, it’s in our water.” If left alone, leaves can block storm drains and contribute to water quality issues. So, don’t let them collect near waterways, curbs or drains.