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Anyone work with village/town to change leaf removal practices?

Posted by bernergrrl z5 IL (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 18:00

Hi everyone,

So great to see you all here and busy with butterflies already! I'm getting ready to put in another garden and have been starting seeds. Kids are getting a little older, so it makes it easier. I am even involved at my Kindergartner's school where we are adding a nature area, and a butterfly garden will be going in soon! :)

I was at an event for Earth Day today, and talked with our forestry person here and then someone who heads the leaf removal in the fall. I was able to get their ears and talk about butterflies/moths that rely on the leaf debris for the completion of their life cycles. They listened to me and seemed interested in doing something about it.

Has anyone tried something with their village/town to change leaf removal practices? Just want to see if there are any ways of addressing a place to put leaves, keep leaves in position and in a manner that allows the butterflies/moths to cpmplete their cycles.

I think part of it will be public education and encouraging residents to keep leaves (and other plant "debris") in their yards. Everyone blows or rakes the leaves into the street to get picked up later.

Thought I'd check here before trying to reinvent the wheel.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Anyone work with village/town to change leaf removal practice

I don't know of anybody who's done this, but it's certainly a good idea!

Nearly my entire 5 1/2 acres are covered with leaves, and I'm glad they are! Leaves make great mulch, helping the bushes and trees to get through dry periods and cold weather, plus, they put down a little nourishment for the plant to feed off of. I believe they also put desirable microorganisms into the soil. I've never understood hauling leaves off in bags or burning them!


RE: Anyone work with village/town to change leaf removal practice

It is against Portland city code to put leaves or any yard debris into the street (but a few people do in leaf season). Most go into roll carts or extra paper bags for city collection.

If your education was along the lines of "save out enough leaves to cover some square yards of area under shrubs or small trees", people may be willing to do that.

Businesses may require another approach; they traditionally hire the leaf-blower people.

RE: Anyone work with village/town to change leaf removal practice

Thanks everyone. The people I talked to mentioned possibly doing a pilot program in one of the parks.

I like the idea of putting the leaves under the shrubs, etc., and try to encourage just some kind of a percentage--so people don't feel like they have to do all or nothing. It would be impossible here anyway with all of the trees and tiny yards.

I shoved most of my trees' leaves under some lilacs and under hydrangeas, it was a fairly tall pile, maybe close to a foot, and it's now doen to maybe an inch or two of really nice leaf mulch. It did break down, so now that I have that experience and I can feel good asking other people to do it.

A lot of people hire landscapers too. It just kills me to see so much bare soil in the fall/winter/spring. Bad gardening strategy!

Thanks again!

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