SDMThe trash and debris that is found during Clean Your Streams Day often unintentionally ends up in the waterways through storm drains. Storm drains are designed to carry only rainwater into streams and rivers, yet they often carry detritus, too. Without proper maintenance, trash and leaves can end up clogging our storm drains and creating problems. If you live near a storm drain, it is important to make sure that no trash or other materials are blocking it from functioning properly and inevitably carrying debris into our waters. Wet leaves especially can make it difficult for storm water to flow into the drains and reduce potential flooding. The first step to proper storm drain maintenance is being aware of where they are located. Each Spring, PCS encourages volunteers to assist in marking storm drains, so they are visible in the community and easy to identify.

The falling leaves this time of year are a beautiful sight but can create some confusion as to how to dispose of them. If you are unsure what the protocols are for leaf piles and pickup, check with your municipality for instructions. Some cities and town offer curbside pickup, while other residents are responsible for the dissemination of their property’s leaf piles. Most municipalities offer specific dates for leaf collection pickups that are separate from trash and recycling days.

But before you throw away or burn the leaves in your yard, consider the benefit they can bring your grass in the Spring. Dead leaves are an excellent form of compost and can decrease the need to use fertilizers on your lawn. The leaves on a single shade tree can save you $50 worth of plant food if properly composted. Leaves contain twice as many minerals as manure. With their deep roots, trees absorb the minerals from the soil that then spreads to their leaves. Here are some tips for making the most out of your dead leaves. First, shredding or grinding the leaves help them decompose faster and more efficiently. Adding nitrogen (1 part nitrogen to 4 parts leaves) increases the nutrient absorption for your grass. Turning the shredded leaves every three days helps to keep them from saturating the ground, especially after rain. Also, covering the pile with a plastic sheet traps the warmth and helps retain ideal moisture levels. So don’t let a good thing go to waste, keep some of your leaves now and your lawn will thank you later!