Recycle Yard Waste

Bennett Joffrion, Fletcher, Jr., Bobby H., Razi, Sam S.  |  10/20/2007 1:32:30 AM

Recycle Yard Waste

Recycle Yard Waste

Landscape maintenance activities — mowing, pruning, raking — generate yard waste that you can return to the soil, recycling valuable nutrients. It is easy to recycle yard waste. Try a few of these simple ideas to get started.

  • Leaves and pine needles provide a source of mulch that is a real asset in the landscape, and it is virtually free! If your yard generates more leaf mulch than you can use, compost the material or share some with a neighbor.
  • After pruning trees and shrubs, toss small cuttings into a compost pile or behind a shrub.
  • Never dump grass clippings or other yard waste into storm drains or waterways. Such activities are illegal and can pollute water systems and clog drains. Grass clippings are a significant source of nitrogen, so keep them on the lawn and out of the water.
  • Compost or mulch with yard wastes to reduce the amount of solid waste to be hauled away. For complete composting how-tos, refer to the LSU AgCenter publications.

Recycled Mulch

Search locally for sources of recycled mulch. Sometimes you can even acquire mulch for free! Here are some tips on obtaining recycled mulch products:

  • Use mulch that originates in your own landscape, such as leaves, pine needles, grass and shrub clippings.
  • Local power companies, municipal solid waste departments and tree services may supply free or low-cost utility mulch and may sometimes deliver bulk quantities. Try to get only mulch from trimming. It is generally more disease-free than mulch from other sources, such as roots.
  • Team up with other homeowners and have bulk quantities delivered to your neighborhood.
  • Check the phone book for commercial suppliers of mulch made from recycled materials.
  • If you need lots of mulch for a new landscape, place an ad in the local newspaper so suppliers come to you.

Recycle While You Mow

Following a few simple tips is all it takes to cultivate a lush lawn:

  • Leave clippings on the lawn to decompose and return nitrogen to the soil. Research indicates this practice improves soil fertility over time, gradually reducing the need for nitrogen fertilization up to 50 percent without a decrease in turfgrass quality. For more information go to Don’t Bag It Lawn Care in the publication section.
  • Never remove more than one-third of an individual grass leaf blade at one time.
  • For procrastinators who don’t mow regularly, mulching mowers cut grass into smaller pieces, speeding decomposition.
  • If grass grows too tall between mowings, spread clippings behind shrubs or add them to a compost pile to avoid unsightly buildup.
  • Sharpen mower blades monthly to protect against pathogen invasion.
  • If your yard isn’t turf intensive, you’ll mow less, saving time, energy and money. Where grass doesn’t serve a function, opt for low-maintenance groundcovers instead of grass, or underplant trees with shrubs and groundcovers.
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