Blowing all of your leaves on the road? Eco Ed provides the solution

Dear Eco-Ed:

I’ve been blowing all of my leaves in the road, as have been all of my neighbors. Is there a better way to dispose of them? I’ve heard that the leaves can provide nutrients to my yard, but I don’t want to leave them in my yard. They make such a mess.

– Getting Rid of Leaves in Ridgewood

Leaves building up in your backyard? Find the eco solution

Leaves building up in your backyard? Find the eco solution

Dear Getting Rid of Leaves:

This is a subject that comes up every year about this time, and I always think what a waste it is to just try to get rid of these leaves. They are such a vital nutrient for our yards and gardens. By removing them, we also create the need to replace them with chemical fertilizers next spring/summer. An easier solution is to create an area in your yard for composting the leaves. This area can be as simple as piling them in a small area of your yard, or by using a composting bin, which can be purchased in any garden or home center (or at the Bergen County Utility Authority at ½ price). With a bin, you can fill it up, watch it shrink as the leaves decompose, and repeat until the entire pile is gone. You will be amazed at how quickly they shrink! The leaves can be raked, blown, or picked up with a shredder or lawn mower so that the sheer volume is significantly reduced. Shredding also jumpstarts the composting process, as the ground up leaves decompose faster.For additional information, or a detailed guide to composting written by Master Composter Gray Russell, please send request to All gardeners will tell you that the best soils are those with high organic content, which provides nutrients and holds water for healthy root systems to thrive. This compost can be spread in garden beds, or mixed in with soil to improve its quality.

It is important to note that composting piles do not carry an offensive smell. This only happens if you add a large volume of grass at one time, or kitchen scraps such as meat, bones or fish. If you add grass clippings to the pile in summer, be sure to mix in the leaves, so that the “browns” (high in carbon) and “greens” (high in nitrogen) are balanced.

And by the way, most towns spend a small fortune to pick up these leaves and dispose of them. Imagine that, your town dedicating a significant amount of your tax dollars to dispose of a valuable resource! Ridgewood, being the progressive community that we are, happens to have a top-notch facility where they create compost from leaves, along with mulch and wood chips from discarded branches and fallen trees. This compost, mulch and wood chips are available to the residents at no cost. You may pick it up at their facilities, which are near the end of Lakeview Ave, by King’s Pond. You can reach the Department of Public Works, Street Division at 201-670-5585.

Enjoy the fall, with all of the beautiful changing colors of the leaves, and think about how they can also help your gardens grow better next spring. You might save your town a few dollars at the same time!

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