Best to manage leaves as a resource for your landscape, but if you have to send them away, use brown kraft bags or open cans. Leaves prepared in plastic bags slow down the trash collection and fill up the landfill. Please use Yard Trimmings Recycling on your recycling days!
Leaves contain 50-80% of the nutrients of a tree. Use them to feed your landscape, NOT the landfill!
During the year, at least 20% of the solid waste generated by Texans comes from grass clippings, tree leaves and other landscape wastes. Bagging these materials and placing them into the curbside garbage collection system uses valuable landfill space, removes nutrients from the environment and costs cities and the people of Texas more in increased taxes and service fees.
Of the landscape waste, approximately half is composed of tree leaves. The Leaf Recycling Plan, prepared by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, is an ecologically sound program designed to significantly reduce the volume of leaves entering community landfills.
The tree leaves that accumulate in and around a landscape represent a valuable natural resource that can be used to provide a good source of organic matter and nutrients for use in a landscape. In forests, pastures and other natural settings, tree leaves and other organic wastes form a natural carpet over the soil surface which conserves moisture, moderates temperatures and prevents soil erosion and crusting. In time, bacteria, fungi and other natural occurring organisms supply the existing soil with a natural, slow release form of nutrients. Homeowners can take advantage of the same concept by following this plan.
This plan will save you time, energy, and money!
A light covering of leaves can be mowed, without the catch-bag, leaving shredded leaves in place on the lawn. This technique is most effective when a mulching mower is used. This technique is the most efficient and easiest way to manage leaf accumulation.
Mulching is a simple and effective way to recycle leaves and improve your landscape. As organic mulch decomposes, valuable nutrients are released for use by landscape plants.
Leaves can be used as mulch in vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, and around shrubs and trees. As an option to raking, a lawn mower, with the catch-bag, provides a fast and easy way to shred and collect the leaves. Leaves that have been mowed or run through a shredder, will decompose faster and are more likely to remain in place than unshredded leaves.
Around the base of trees and shrubs apply a 3-6 inch layer of shredded leaves. In annual or perennial flowerbeds apply a 2-3 inch mulch of shredded leaves. For vegetable gardens a thick layer of leaves between the rows functions as a mulch and as an all-weather walkway.
Leaves can be used as a carbon source in a compost pile. If mixed with an equal volume of organic materials with high nitrogen, like fresh rye grass, the amount of leaves will be reduced by 75% within 4 weeks. Finished compost can be used to:
- enrich the soil by adding nutrients,
- loosen tight, heavy soils
- help sandy soils retain moisture and nutrients
- add to potting soils for container grown plants
Residential Yard Trimmings Recycling
Available weekly on recycling collection day from residential collection point. All leaves and grass must be in kraft yard bags or in an OPEN container.