The beautiful fall colors will soon give way to barren trees and piles of fallen leaves around our yards and neighborhoods. The leaves decompose and restock the soil with nutrients and organic matter.
However, those decomposing leaves may eventually make their way into lakes and rivers. They get washed down streets and into storm drains and will feed unwanted algae growth the following summer.
In the Mississippi River-Twin Cities watershed 87 of the 180 lakes studied didn’t meet water quality standards because of excess nutrients — that’s about half the lakes! And leaves are a major source of the problem. Depending on the lake, leaves might account for 60% of the excess nutrients in these lakes.
Here’s what you can do with your autumn leaves:
· Rake the leaves that have accumulated along your curb, sidewalk and alley
· Never trash or burn your leaves
· Put leaves in your backyard compost pile
· Use leaves to mulch your garden and lawn
· Drop leaves off at a compost site