As the leaves are falling as fast as we rake them, it is important to remember the effect yard debris has on the health of our streams. When yard debris makes its way to streams, excess nutrients accumulate in the water, increasing algae growth which can deplete the water of dissolved oxygen and harm aquatic wildlife. Leaves and other yard debris should be disposed of properly to avoid degrading the health of our waterways. Many communities in Warren County have designated leaf and brush pickup times. Check your local public works website for more details. Alternatively, you may consider letting your leaves stay where they fall this year and mulching them with your lawnmower. The National Wildlife Federation states that leaves provide a natural mulch and fertilizer for your lawn and vital habitat for small critters such as turtles, toads, and birds. Just make sure you start the process before the leaves get too thick and wet with rain.
If your yard needs fertilized this fall, consider testing your soil so you know how much fertilizer, if needed, to use. You can pick up your soil test kit at our office during regular business hours! When excess fertilizer, even compost, is applied, soil will not absorb the nutrients and will be washed away with the rain flowing into the nearest stream. By testing your soil, you will know how much fertilizer is needed, protecting our streams and potentially saving you money. A little extra caution while you keep up with your fall to-do list can make a big difference for the health of our waterways!