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Leaves Aren't Trash

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Piles of leaves hundreds of feet long and dozens of feet high are created by cities, towns and villages throughout Central New York!I suppose you could say the inspiration for my railing over the unnecessary municipal collection of leaves was an article that I read several years ago in the trade publication, Grounds Maintenance. In the article, turfgrass scientist Dr. Thom Nikolai, discussed the results of three leaf mulching research projects conducted at Michigan State University between 1991 and 1999. The results of these studies, to quote the article, was that "there were more benefits than negatives for turf managers and homeowners who mulch tree leaves into existing sites." 

To read the article for yourself, click here.

Intrigued by the mutually beneficial findings of these studies to both municipalities (reduced need to collect leaves each autumn) and homeowners (enhanced lawn vigor), I did a little more digging (so to speak) and found that research conducted at both Purdue and Cornell universities in the mid-1990's came to similar conclusions.

While the Cornell study is not available online, you can review the results of the Purdue University studies by clicking here.

Meanwhile, an additional two year leaf mulching study has just been completed at Michigan State University with the results to be published at some point during the coming year. And, researchers at Cornell started a project in the fall of 2006 to investigate the potential for phosphorus runoff from lawn areas where leaves are mulched.

So, stay tuned for more information on what, to me anyway, is a common-sense option for dealing with leaves without spending public money!