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Don't shred all your leaves!

 
Tyler Ludens
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allen lumley
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Tyler : Thanks for sharing ! Big AL
 
John Polk
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Great post Tyler. I added it to the Trees Forum as well.
This is the time of year when many are raking their leaves...nice friendly reminder !

Although the poster was concerned with burning leaf piles, shredding is just as bad for the critters.
(If Mother Nature didn't want leaves piling up under trees, she wouldn't have them shed them each autumn.)

 
Hans Harker
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My municipality seems to perceive itself as sort of upscale and do require all the leaves to be removed. I did rake the front lawn and used all the leaves as mulch for a new bed that i'm preparing for next year. The nice autumn fragrance vanished from the front yard though.

I had a conversation with the city inspector earlier this year when i tried to explain that what he saw as a bunch of unsightly weeds was in fact a wild life habitat crucial for the wellbeing of our yard. He decided not to make a fuss about it unless he gets complains from the neighbors so i try to 'educate' them a bit about how 'bugs' that live in the bushes keep cabbage worms at bay and a couple of unsprayed cabbage heads presented to them us prof help.

Explaining, to a city inspector, how leaving leaves to decay on the ground could actually benefit our local community would probably be a challenge.
 
Zach Muller
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Wow voy that sounds even more harsh than the puritan lawn laws around here. I would be interested to know how the law concerning leaves is worded, if you have it handy. I have moved the leaves out of my driveway, but intend to leaf the rest of them laying all over the place. Im way over caring what my neighbors think, as long as i am within the law there is really nothing they can do to enforce their values on my trees. Sweeping up natures big old mess is just a glaring indicator of how far away some people have gone from appreciating and respecting the life around them.

I am considering moving a few piles of pine needles into the chicken coop, the trees have left a light litter of needles everywhere, but alot have fallen onto the driveway and when raked up they ended up being really thick pile around the tree, im thinking too thick.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Zach Muller wrote:Sweeping up natures big old mess is just a glaring indicator of how far away some people have gone from appreciating and respecting the life around them.


Unfortunately, sweeping up and burning organic material is traditional in some cultures, as in parts of the Middle East, where, in the desert, people carefully "clean up" any organic debris and burn it. Cleaning up and burning organic material from agricultural fields is also traditional in parts of Mexico (and Texas loves to blame its bad air quality on this practice).

And people wonder why the planet is becoming a desert.

 
Zach Muller
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Yeah i thought about that Tyler, as i know many cultures in the past have burned the forest floor to manage the level of debris buildup, manage wild forest fires, and other things. If removing the debris is part of a management strategy that works for the area, then it might be a good practice. I think it turns bad pretty much every time when the strategy is based on aesthetics rather than fertility or function.

It raises a good point about the tradition of 'cleaning'. And traditions in general. It can serve a useful purpose, but if you rely on it without getting feedback from the land you might end up with desertification or other ecological problems on your hands. Is there any practice we should participate in without observing feedback? Not that i can think of.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Traditions are certainly not necessarily beneficial. Plow agriculture is a tradition which in most parts of the planet is a bad idea.

Fortunately people can learn new behaviors if they are rewarded for them, as in being able to grow (and sell) more food or having a more pleasant place to live. Demonstrating the benefits of permaculture practices, instead of just telling people "stop being bad!" is crucial, I think. People like Brad Lancaster have been able to have a tremendous positive effect on their locales by persistently demonstrating the benefits of permaculture.

 
Hans Harker
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Zach Muller wrote:Wow voy that sounds even more harsh than the puritan lawn laws around here. I would be interested to know how the law concerning leaves is worded, .

Leaves are considered landscape waste and as such they need to be removed.

"LANDSCAPE WASTE: All accumulations of grass or shrubbery cuttings, leaves, tree limbs three inches (3") or less in diameter, tree trimmings, brush, and other materials, accumulated as the result of the care of lawns, bushes, shrubbery, vines and trees."

Although as i'm reading it it says they have to be "the result of the care of lawns, bushes, shrubbery, vines and trees." so if the fell from trees they could stay on the ground but not if you rake them on a pile
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yep, to me it looks like if they are an "accumulation" rather than a natural fall or a mulch, that you need to remove them. This is probably to avoid people having big messy piles of plant material in the yard (what we would probably call "a compost heap").

 
Hans Harker
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Yep, to me it looks like if they are an "accumulation" rather than a natural fall or a mulch, that you need to remove them. This is probably to avoid people having big messy piles of plant material in the yard (what we would probably call "a compost heap").



composting is allowed to with the exception of household garbage

3-9-7: COMPOSTING Properly maintained compost piles may be utilized by single-family units for gardening and landscaping purposes. Such may be located in the side or backyard, the farthest distance possible on site from neighboring residential structures, patios and swimming pools, a minimum of five feet (5') from the property line. Compost piles shall not contain household garbage and must be regularly maintained by turning the composing material to permit aeration and/or by application of chemicals to induce rapid decomposition and prevent offensive odors. (Ord. 0-90-26, 7-2-1990)

GARBAGE: Any rejected or waste household food, offal, swill or carrion and every accumulation of animal, fruit or vegetable matter that attends the preparation, use, cooking and dealing in, or storage of meats, fish, fowl, fruits or vegetables and any other matter of any nature, which are subject to decay, putrefaction and the generation of noxious or offensive gases or odor, or which during or after decay, may serve as a breeding or feeding material for rodents, flies or other germ carrying insects or animals.


But i was told by the landlord that the city would fine us if we don't remove the leaves that fell of trees.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Ugh, if the landlord is telling you to clean them up, you probably don't have much of a choice, if you can't convince the landlord of the benefit of leaves.
 
Zach Muller
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Oi, i am looking out at my large pile of hedge trimmings, and realizing how i need a privacy fence asap. When the grape vines lose their leaves my backyard is like an open book of borderline infractions.

*smacks head* got to focus on the positive.... Sometimes i just want a 20 foot berm around my whole property, with cacti and roses on top, but alas that is not allowed either, can only be 8 feet high in the back and 4 feet in the front.

I plan to defend my piles by naming them compost piles. As long as i do enough good deeds for the neighbors i hope there wont be issues.

Voy it sounds like you are correct, the way the law is written it does not apply to leaf litter as it falls. Which would be worth mentioning to any inspector giving you guff about a layer of naturally fallen leaves. In my old yard the leaves were largely decomposed by the end of winter anyway.
 
Hans Harker
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Ugh, if the landlord is telling you to clean them up, you probably don't have much of a choice, if you can't convince the landlord of the benefit of leaves.


Our landlord is actually pretty decent but didn't seem ready for such radical change this year.

I hope my raking didn't do to much harm and that all the reallocated insects that survived it can sex each other silly when they wake up next year.
 
Morgan Barker
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Voy, I do hope you have found a way around the rules against composting kitchen scraps! I vermicompost about 80% of my kitchen scraps in my basement, and the remainder gets vermicomposted outside in tumbler.
 
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