Don’t Fall Into the Leaf Raking Trap
The season is upon us! The New York State fall foliage tracker is exploding with color – a few yellow zones, representing fall colors that are just beginning to appear, but many in orange, and some locales in full Technicolor (red). As the colors give way to cooler temps and the leaves begin to softly parachute their way to the ground, we’re all faced with a decision: Should I practice mulch mowing to allow the leaves on my property to follow the path nature intends, one where they fall to the ground and are recycled into nutrients that help improve lawn conditions, as well as support complex life-cycles, or should I hastily remove the leaves and ship them at great cost to a distant location?
Silent Fall – The Choice is Yours
By raking leaves and shipping them to distant locations, not only do we potentially create safety problems on our streets in connection with improper leaf pile placement, but the financial and pollution costs associated with transportation are significant. We also lose myriad benefits that would otherwise be realized by recycling leaves on-site. To compound the problem, because the leaves are not allowed to perform their natural function of replenishing the soil, we then have to use mitigation strategies to promote healthy lawns, like unnecessary fertilization and excessive watering – something those with a sprinkler system are acutely aware can be very expensive.
When fertilizers are used in lieu of allowing leaves to be recycled on-site, rain events carry excess nitrogen to distant locales, including Long Island Sound. There, excessive nitrogen has been proven to contribute heavily to the decline of aquatic ecosystems and the non-aquatic systems that rely upon them. A bad decision to rake and ship leaves to distant places has adverse cascading effects with profound consequence. As Long Island Sound ecosystems decline, water quality and human use of the resource also declines. Over time, the joy of birds singing and children playing along the beaches slowly fades. With each bed of sea grass that dies-off, the Sound becomes, ironically, more silent – a Silent Fall, of sorts, for those familiar with Rachel Carson’s masterful novel, Silent Spring.
So, please help to keep summers on Long Island, whether in Montauk, the Hamptons, or on day trips to Jones Beach, full of the sounds of nature, recreation, and life, generally. Take a look at the fine article written by the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council on the topic of Leaf Mulching. If you are not already doing it, at least give it a try for two seasons. You can always go back to shipping your leaves away if it doesn’t work. Also, be cognizant of and practice sustainable landscaping practices.
Silent Fall isn’t a good outcome, so please make the best choice available and participate in mulch mowing – don’t blow it . . . mow it!
If You Must Rake or Blow Your Leaves
Fall leaf collection is about to get started. Please review the Leaf Collection Program rules and make sure that any landscaper you may hire is in strict compliance with all requirements.
Importantly, as a property owner, you are responsible for any violation your landscaper may commit while servicing your property; leaving them to their own devices may result in you receiving a summons for their violation, an outcome the Village wishes to avoid by imploring all persons to know and comply with the applicable rules. If you use a landscaping or snow removal contractor, please email the firm’s contact information, including email address, to the Scarsdale Public Works Department and we will include them in our proactive outreach and education efforts to help encourage compliance with local rules and regulations.
Here are the 2019 Leaf Program vitals:
Leaf Pick-up Schedule
- The 2019 Fall Leaf Collection Program will commence on October 15, 2019, and continue through December 06, 2019. Crews work from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday – Friday.
- The anticipated weekly schedule will be available online and is intermittently broadcast on cable television, either streaming live from scarsdale.com, or by tuning-in to Altice/Cablevision channel 75 or Verizon channel 43.
- Leaves are collected approximately every twenty business days, with pick-ups planned at least once per month for each street.
- Placement of leaves for pick-up prior to October 15 is prohibited.
Leaf Placement for Collection
- No branches, grass, dirt, stones, or other materials are permitted to be mixed with leaves. Mixed piles constitute a violation and will not be picked-up.
- Leaves shall be placed at the curb for pick-up, but not in the street. Properties with leaves raked into or otherwise placed in the street may be subject to a summons, as such piles constitute a public safety hazard and also obstruct proper roadway drainage.
- Leaves may be placed for pick-up either loose or in biodegradable paper bags; neither plastic nor non-biodegradable containers of any form will be accepted.
- Branches may be placed at the curb for pick-up, but not in the street, and must be:
- Separated from leaf piles;
- Tied in bundles that are less than five feet long, less than 18 inches diameter, and weighing no more than 50 pounds each; and
- Residents must contact a private carter for pick-up of individual branches larger than three (3) inches diameter, as well as any bundles that exceed the specified dimensional and weight restrictions.
Leaf Transfer Station: Opens Monday, October 07
- Beginning October 07, residents may deliver leaves at no-charge, either loose or in biodegradable paper bags, to the Leaf Transfer Station, located at the Recycling Center, 110 Secor Road, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.
- Contractors are encouraged to bring leaves to the Recycling Center, which requires a permit from the Department of Public Works. Please call (914) 722-1150 for more information.
Need Biodegradable Leaf Bags?
- Biodegradable leaf bags are available to Scarsdale residents, only, in lots of five for $4.00 (cash, check, or credit card) by visiting the Recycling Center, 110 Secor Road, between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
- Biodegradable leaf bags are also available to Scarsdale residents, only, in lots of five for $4.00 (cash, check, or credit card) by visiting the Coordination Office at Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, on the 2nd Floor between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Either email Public Works, or call them at (914) 722-1150.