Look to alternatives for leaf disposal

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It’s happening again. Trees are shedding all over my yard.
Now, instead of worrying about keeping the grass short in the summer, in the fall the fight turns to the onslaught of pine needles and oak leaves that aim to kill my grass.
Typically when fall arrives, people want to gather up the dead plant matter and use the fuel load as a reason to burn something. I, too, am captivated by fire.
However, as you may have noticed, or not, there hasn’t been much rain recently. That means the ground is dry and so is all of that stuff falling on the grass.
I know it seems easier to just pile it all up in what seems to be a safe spot, throw some lighter fluid or gasoline on the pile and light it up. But that’s not the best way to get rid of your leaves and straw, especially in dry conditions.
Here’s why; dry conditions create a fire hazard. Sure, that decaying plant waste will burn up nicely in such conditions. Keep in mind however, as easily as that pile of leaves sparked up in your neat pile, the leaves you didn’t get to in the woods will spark up just as easily, easily leading to hundreds if not thousands of acres catching fire.
Currently, county officials are requesting a burn ban be put in effect. Even if they are successful, we all know that the word of such a ban spreads slowly and not everyone is a law-abiding citizen, which is why we have police and fire departments.
If you see someone burning something during the ban, you may want to alert him or her about the it, or just call the fire department.
So as you consider what to do with the leaves and pine straw, look at some alternatives to disposing of that debris, such as composting and mulching.

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