Try mulching leaves instead of raking 10.06

Written by David Green.

Curbside brush pickup continues for Morenci residents, and leaf pickup will soon begin.

City residents are also invited to take their own leaves and brush to the collection site behind the DPW at any time. The building is located off Salisbury Street at the back of Wakefield Park.

Burning leaves and brush is not allowed in the city, but there is an alternative to the city’s collection.

This year, said Kevin Sayers of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, it might be worth considering the alternative of mulching leaves into the lawn instead of raking them to the curb.

Research has proven that mowing leaves into your lawn can improve its vigor, and observation shows that unraked leaves in planting beds don’t smother shade-tolerant perennials.

Since before 1995 when the Federal Solid Waste Management Act eliminated the disposal of yard waste in landfills and the Clean Air Act simultaneously became more stringent regarding burning of tree leaves, homeowners have become accustomed to raking leaves to the curb for collection.

However, ongoing research at Michigan State University, Purdue University and others has demonstrated numerous benefits to mulching leaves on-site including, improved soil organic matter, nutrient levels and reduced presence of broadleaf weeds.

Mulching is not a new idea, but universities have only recently compiled enough data to determine that tree-leaf mulching has no long-term negative effects on healthy turf.

With municipal budgets being squeezed further each year, the expense of leaf collection/composting programs is being scrutinized as well. One study reported the following average municipal leaf collection costs:

• leaf collection program cost per 1,000 population, $2,350;

• leaf collection labor cost per curb-mile collected, $135; and

• leaf collection equipment cost per curb-mile collected, $223.

Visit the following website for tips on mulching and composting leaves on your property: http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/improve-soil-rake-less.aspx.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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