Leaf Season Has Fallen

It’s that time of year again when the glorious colors of autumn leaves will soon disappear from trees and instead, become visible all over green grassy yards. The River Hill Covenants require that each property’s yard, roof, and gutters be cleared of leaves and debris on a regular basis during the respective seasons. Here’s a welcome treat for your yard and gardens this fall—a list of tips on how best to manage those leaves.

• Compost or use leaves as mulch around plants.
• Put leaves into your green food scrap recycle bin for curbside collection.
• Instead of raking and bagging leaves, consider mowing them with a mulching mower and let them lie. Left in place, chopped-up leaves help the soil hold moisture and nutrients while also aerating it. Think of it as free food for the soil and money saved on fertilizer.
• Bag leaves in paper bags for curbside collection. Remember that plastic bags are not accepted.
• Drop leaves off at Alpha Ridge Landfill’s yard trim area, 2350 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville.
• Don’t rake leaves into open space. That’s illegal and a nuisance for Columbia Association.
• Don’t rake leaves into the street. Leaves on the street can clog storm drains causing flooding.

If you still have more leaves than you can use, the Howard County Master Gardeners Rake and Take program offers a matchmaking service of sorts. The Rake and Take coordinator connects those who want leaves for compost piles or mulch with those who have too many. For information on that program, visit    https://extension.umd.edu/locations/howard-county/environment-and-natural-resources/master-gardener, contact Master Gardener Pat Hooker at 410-489-4314 or phooker9440@gmail.com. Note that the leaves cannot contain herbicides or other chemical residue.