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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Those autumn leaves

I've posted about this before, I'm sure, but our one (1) oak tree produces a prodigious amount of leaves:
prodigious: Impressively great in size, force, or extent; enormous.
One year I was using those "contractor" sized trash bags and filled 24 of them. And I'm talking crammed full. So raking and bagging or burning the leaves is an all-day event. This year, however, it went quicker because Gloria, Jon and their neighbor friend DJ helped. I started at 9:00 in the back yard, had that done by 11:00 when they joined in, and we were finished (except for stirring the leaves as they burn) by 2:30. I paid them for their effort ($20 apiece), so they were happy.

Luckily we live in a jurisdiction that still allows burning leaves. I burned them in three of our raised garden beds, figuring the ash would help add to the soil (maybe - oak leaves are poisonous to most plants, so maybe it'll backfire). I do like the smell of burning leaves. It just feels like "fall." Although the weather certainly didn't! It was beautiful, but it almost hit 70° - on November 21!

So I am sore and tired, but happy to get this yearly chore out of the way. Unfortunately, the oak holds on to many of its leaves until the first snow, so there'll still be more. I don't know if I'll be up to raking them when they finally fall. I did notice the gutters need cleaning out badly, though, and I will try and do that this weekend. We got new gutters when we had the roof done this year and I haven't put gutter guards back on them so they are packed with leaves. Fun times.


Chris said...

So 24 bags total for all your trees? Jim I *wish*... I end up doing probably 3 or 4 times 12 bags worth if I'm lucky and I that's not even counting the leaves I don't even care about that are covering mulch beds or the large swath of the backyard :)

Needless to say, we have a prodigious amount of oak trees in our yard and every yard nearby...

Jim Lehmer said...

Chris, yes, 24 bags total, but note, that's for one tree, not multiple trees.

Every year I think "there's got to be a way to put all this excess carbon to use!" Electricity generation, something. I don't know.

Chris said...

Ha. Great minds think alike.... I was thinking just that same thought last time I was bagging leaves. I wonder what the cities do with them; Richmond city collects leaves and the last city I lived in (Akron) did as well, but now that I'm in the burbs now, no leaf collection.

Apparently in Naperville, IL their leaves are "used to fertilize agricultural fields and bagged leaves are composted".

You'd think if any farming company could effectively process them, their would be value for cities/counties to use them... partnership together.

Well, I know in the county I live in you can dropoff xmas trees, and other leaf and yard waste in a certain area of the dump and they have a huge shredder. The results are effectively free compost.

Jim Lehmer said...

If you live within city limits here (I don't) you can drop off leaves, "yard waste," Christmas trees, etc., and they compost it. You can then also pick up free compost. It's decent, not great. I've used it to fill in the bottom of raised beds, with good dirt and compost on top.