Are you looking at a growing pile of fallen leaves? Here’s how you can take advantage of this season’s gardener’s “gold” and get free nutrients for next year’s lawn and garden.

Growing piles of leaves 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 leaves

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. Mulched leaves and grass clippings return 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.

Just leave them

You can leave the fallen leaves in garden beds and around foundation plantings as an extra protection against wicked winter weather. It also provides a habitat for beneficial insects and adds compost nutrients to the soil. However, most garden experts recommend cleaning up vegetable beds of dead growth to prevent disease on next year’s crop. This should be composted in a city collection where higher heat will kill pathogens.

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 November 9-14 in central Kansas City (no collection Nov. 11 Veteran’s Day) and November 16-20 in south Kansas City. North Kansas City pickup has already taken place. Residents can also drop off brush for free every Saturdays through January 25 at:

* 1815 N. Chouteau Trafficway

* 10301 Raytown Road

* 11660 N. Main Street

For more drop-off information, go to City of KCMO.

 

Johnson County, KS

You can find composting tips at Johnson County Yard & Composting. Residents can drop off yard waste with some local businesses, including:

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.