The recent mild weather affords land managers of all sorts a chance to finish the job made tricky by this season’s unusual fall weather pattern. In the past several years, it seems there was plenty of opportunity to process organic matter jettisoned from garden plants prior to the first snowfall, but not so this year. I don’t know about any of you, but we had a heck of a time juggling leaf cleanup. Several factors contributed, including a slightly later peak leaf drop; oaks and hickories comprise Wellfield’s tree canopy. We also had early snowfalls. I had to watch the weather and seize the windows of opportunity presented as weather patterns shifted dramatically.
I am still dealing with the last trickle of oak bitter clingers. There are still places where the leaf coverage is too great to leave until spring thaw. A certain amount of leaf litter is acceptable, but there are a number of reasons to not allow thick layers to remain, the least of which is snow mold. If you have piles awaiting curb pickup, it might be time to consider an alternative plan. Pickup crews are usually the snow removal crews in most governmental jurisdictions, so if we get hit again you may or may not make the crew’s list in time before long-term weather patterns arrive. Some alternative options to consider might be…
- Compost the piles yourself as described in my post of a couple of weeks ago, or
- Hire a crew. There are still plenty of landscapers with the means of quickly removing your piles for you. This way you are more in control of the timing of pickup.
Whatever you choose to do, I would not “leaf” matters as they lie.
Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager