Well, the temperatures are finally falling low enough for it to feel cold. It’s about time — it is December, after all.

With lower temperatures and fewer daylight hours, there are many changes beginning to take place in our yards and landscaping. Turf grass is slowing down its growth, there are fewer flowers, and there are LOTS of leaves blowing around.

The wind has been gusty, leaving daily blankets of dry and rustling foliage. I see folks out raking bags and bags of leaves, only to see the same amounts return within a couple of days, as if they never raked.

My yard is covered with leaves, of the cottonwood variety, and I don’t even have a cottonwood on my property. Issues such as this may be frustrating, but can anything be done about wafting plant waste? I say, “Yes, there can,” in many, but not all, circumstances. I’d like to bring up some suggestions for taking action and ultimately “owner responsibility” for one’s plant debris and raise awareness of some unacceptable behaviors that show lack of accountability for one’s plant waste.

Even though every property has a property line, we don’t live in a bubble. Plants may not stay on their side of the fence, and wind blows everything and anything not nailed down. Properties share ants and other pesky insects, turf grasses grow together and intermingle, and even weed and plant seeds blow over to our neighbors’ properties and germinate without permission. It’s all a part of life outside.

So how can we be more responsible neighbors and take ownership of what is ours, even if it is plant waste? First, by understanding that the waste coming from your yard is ultimately yours. If it blows into your neighbor’s yard, it’s not his/her problem to clean up; it’s still yours. Just like if your trash or recycling blows from your trash can into the street or across to a yard or lot, it is still your trash and you need to pick it up.

My suggestion is to take notice of what waste your yard produces and manage it, as much as possible, before it transports itself and becomes a nuisance to others. Have you ever asked your neighbors if there’s anything of yours encroaching on their property? That may open up the lines of communication that can go both ways and benefit everyone. It’s something to think about.

In my way of thinking, the No. 1 most unacceptable trend nowadays is the blower. Everyone seems to think it’s OK to blow their grass clippings and leaves off their property and into the street. If we did that with trash and junk, we could be ticketed and fined, and lose a lot of neighborhood friendship as well. So why do we think it’s acceptable to do it with organic waste? It’s not all right. Once it’s blown into the street, it just becomes your waste pushed off to someone else. It’s objectionable. Blowing debris into a pile and then bagging it or composting it is the acceptable route to take.

It’s neighborly, it’s responsible, and it’s modeling the “do unto others” example.

Darla Horner Menking is an outdoor enthusiast and Herald correspondent. Contact her at darla.menking@gmail.com.

(1) comment


I agree with being considerate... however too many people (my neighbor especially) honestly behave like I need to stand under every tree with a Butterfly net and catch each and every leaf. Furthermore, guess what? Wind is going to blow the leaves. You can't prove which leaves came from my yard and which leaves are from someone else's yard any more than I can with the leaves in my yard. (My neighbor thinks she can, because she's a crazy old loony who needs to get a life). There's more important things to be concerned about than some darn leaves. In the AUTUMN.

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