As the days grow shorter and the temperatures dip, there’s still time to get the leaves raked and off the lawn to ready your yard for winter before significant snowfall accumulates.
“Fall leaf management is best; that’s what’s recommended,” noted John Springman, a Ramsey County environmental health supervisor. “In winter, leaves can smother the grass and inhibit growth. That can create environment for snow mold to occur in the winter months. In the spring, it’s beneficial to not be tromping around when the is saturated.”
In the metro area, most counties offer residents collection sites/environmental service centers where they can drop their leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste at no charge.
State law prohibits leaves, grass clippings, brush and other plant material from being mixed with your trash.
In Ramsey County, there are seven recycling/yard waste collection sties that are open and free to Ramsey County residents as well as Hennepin County residents who live in St Anthony Village.
A map of the locations and their operating hours can be found here: https://maps.co.ramsey.mn.us/CollectionSites/index.html
People who drop off their yard waste in Ramsey County should be prepared to separate it into piles and empty all of the bags that they collected it in.
“There are some compostable bags but we don’t accept them at our sites,” Springman explained. “Someone else might interpret that bag in the pile as a plastic bag and then they feel that’s what you do, you drop your plastic bag with the leaves in it. That’s not good on the back end for managing material.”
Springman noted that homeowners are encouraged to compost their yard waste on their own property, where it can be put back to use as a way to enhance yard and garden soil in the spring. But he acknowledged that many city and suburban lots aren’t large enough for large compost piles, so recycling through municipal and county facilities makes practical sense.
Ultimately the yard waste that is dropped off is transformed into a product that will be useful and in high demand.
“We can compost it at one of our sites, From the others, we truck it out to commercial sites where they compost it and turn it back into that great finished compost that makes a nice soil amendment,” said Springman.
“It is a very valuable product that can be used for landscaping and gardening purposes.”