Nov 14, 2022 - Things to Do

Give your leaves a second life

Illustration of a pile of leaves that is being raked to reveal an Axios logo.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Houston's finally feeling like autumn, and that means leaves are just beginning to fall.

Why it matters: Around this time of year, many of us feel compelled to spend hours on the menial task of shepherding leaves into bags or bins.

💭 Shafaq's thought bubble: You can just leave the leaves.

  • They'll break down naturally and enrich your soil.
  • Leaves can suppress weeds and be used as a natural mulch.
  • They also serve as a habitat for wildlife, including lizards, frogs and insects.
  • If you have to clean them for your homeowners association, compost 'em at home. Leaves provide a high-carbon source, and you can grind them up by mower to get them to decompose faster.

Alternatively, you can participate in the City of Houston's yard waste collection program.

How it works: Bag your grass clippings, leaves and small branches in city-approved compostable bags (which can be bought at several retail stores).

Our Axios Austin colleague Asher Price shared some of his hacks for raking leaves:

  • Wait till right after a rain, when the leaves clump together nicely, making them easier to rake up.
  • Or use a small child to stuff down the leaves. Gently lift a sub-6-year-old by the armpits and place him or her in the seemingly full-of-leaves garbage can. Ask the child to stomp or dance.

The bottom line: Don't let "nature's nutrient recyclers" end up in the landfill.


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