11 Things You Should NOT Do With Your Fallen Leaves
If you don't want to annoy your neighbors, harm the environment or create a health risk, avoid these bad practices for dealing with fallen leaves.
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Don’t Rake Them Into the Street
Many places have made it illegal to rake your leaves into the street. Leaves and other vegetation or debris swept into the street creates an unsightly, soggy mess. But even more importantly, raking leaves into the street can block storm drains, which can result in flooding.
Don’t Burn Leaves in Your Yard
Burning leaves in your yard is illegal in many places. Irritants carried into the air by smoke can cause respiratory problems. It addition, the fire could get out of hand and sparks could ignite flammable items in your yard or your neighbor’s.
Don’t Rake Them Into Your Neighbor’s Yard
Don’t Throw Them in the Trash
Some cities have banned “clean and green” materials from residential garbage collection. Composting organic yard debris, like fallen leaves, conserves limited landfill space and produces a valuable resource! Instead, build a compost bin or use a yard waste service.
Don’t Forget to Shred Before Composting
If you already practice composting in your yard, remember to shred leaves before adding them to the pile. They decompose faster when shredded and it also prevents matting. Running the lawnmower over them quickly shreds them with little effort. You can also get a leaf mulcher for large amounts of leaves.
Don’t Park Your Car Near Leaves
Parking on piles of fallen leaves creates a fire hazard. Dry leaves may ignite and the resulting fire can quickly overtake your car. Also, it’s best to avoid parking your car under trees that are shedding leaves, if possible. The leaves can cause stains and get lodged in air vents, so take a moment to pull them out before you drive.
Don’t Forget Protective Gear
Wear protective clothing, such as gloves, shoes that won’t slip on damp patches and a brace if you have back issues. If cool temps haven’t eliminated flying pests, consider applying some insect repellent so you don’t end up with bites or stings.
Don’t Rake Too Hard
When you rake, avoid working too vigorously or deeply. This can cause fatigue in your hands, arms, shoulders and back. While that may not sound too serious, this fatigue can cause you to throw out your back, particularly if you don’t maintain proper posture. Also avoid bearing down too hard while raking, and keep your knees bent and back straight — allow your legs to do some of the work. It’s good to drive the tines into the thatch layer to dislodge it, but don’t overdo it on tender, new grass.
Don’t Forget to Use Biodegradable Bags
If your area doesn’t offer community composting, your bags of lawn waste can end up in the landfill. Furthermore, if you don’t use biodegradable bags, then the bag and leaves become environmentally unfriendly.
Don’t Dump Leaves “Down the Hill”
If you live above a ravine, dumping leaves down the hillside could destabilize the slope. While it may be tempting, don’t create a dangerous environment where people or animals might get hurt. Take care of your pile of leaves the right way.