Helpful Alternative Yard Waste Solutions
Mow Your Leaves
Don’t be in a hurry to put your mower away this fall - it's a valuable tool for managing leaves as well as grass. With the recent change in leaf collection service, this is a good opportunity for Ypsilanti residents to experiment with additional leaf management practices.
Mulching leaves will save residents time and effort by reducing the amount of leaves bagged for pick-up. It also supports the City’s cost-saving efforts for leaf collection and disposal. To use your mower to mulch leaves, run the mower across the lawn to break the leaves down into small pieces. This may take several passes over the lawn with the mower. The small leaf pieces will be visible at first but eventually decompose into your lawn over the coming weeks. For best results, use a mulching mower, raise your mowing height to better accommodate the leaf piles, and mow when leaves are dry.
Mulched leaves also make an excellent addition to a compost pile and garden beds. The small leaf pieces created by the mower will quickly break down and provide useful nutrients to your lawn and garden.
Grasscycling means shredding grass clippings on your lawn instead of bagging them. Extensive research at Michigan State University demonstrates that lawns grow better when grass clippings and leaves are mulched all across the lawn. Grass clippings are 85 - 90% water, and are a significant source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for your lawn. Are you throwing away free fertilizer and then buying more?
The proper grasscycling technique is to cut off a maximum of one inch of the grass blades per mowing. Lawns should never be cut shorter than two inches. Grasscycling can be done with any type mower, but the newer mulching blades have the advantage of cutting the grass clippings more finely. As with any pruning, the plants are less stressed when cut with a sharp blade. “Cut it high and dry and let it lie,” say the experts.
The City pays over $20,000 annually for yard waste processing. Save tax dollars, save work bagging, and improve your lawn by grasscycling and mulching leaves.