October 2021
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Get Grassy
Fall Leaf Management & Composting
Happy Fall! The weather has cooled off, and the leaves are falling. Dealing with the leaves can be such a chore! Did you know that leaves can also create a problem for storm drains and water quality? Yup, the leaves are washed away by the rain and can clog storm drains. Then, as the leaves break down, they wash excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in local waterways. Too many nutrients in waterways can create problems for water quality and aquatic species like excess weed growth and algae blooms. When the weeds and algae break down, the process uses up oxygen that native aquatic species need in order to survive. While nutrients are great for your yard, they are not so great for water quality. So, let's talk about leaf management.
What should you do with all those leaves?

Option 1. One of the best things you can do is to "leaf" it on your lawn. It's free fertilizer! Leaves are very high in nutrients and organic matter. The same nutrients that cause problems in the waterways can be beneficial to your turfgrass if they remain on the lawn. By leaving grass clippings and leaves on your lawn, you're returning nutrients and organic matter to your lawn and soil, and preventing soil compaction caused by rain and foot traffic. Dead leaves also provide cover for wildlife and insects during the colder months. A light covering of leaves won’t kill your lawn. If you want the leaves to break down faster, use your lawn mower to cut them into smaller pieces that will break down faster.

Option 2. Do you have too many leaves, can't or won't "leaf" it on your lawn? You can bag them and put them out for yard waste collection or rake them to the right of way to put them out for your local leaf collection. Check with your community for leaf collection schedule and ordinances that may apply! Be visible and cautious when raking near the street and storm drains. Watch for road traffic and wear bright clothing or safety gear if you are raking near the street. If possible, avoid placing leaf piles near mailboxes, trees, lights, or signs. Keep leaves out of storm water sewers and stream banks.

Option 3. There is a third option for managing leaves: composting! Composting leaves can create very rich garden soil that we like to call "garden gold." It also reduces the waste entered into local waste streams. According to SWACO's waste characterization study, 76% of the materials thrown away in Franklin County have the potential to be recycled or composted. Moreover, yard waste makes up 3% of Franklin County's waste stream. Check out these yard waste tips from our friends at SWACO.
Stormwater Awareness Week is October 17-23

Stormwater Awareness Week is here! We have lots of ways to celebrate. Check out what you can do for stormwater and to take the pledge here. Celebrate by attending the great events going on and take the stormwater pledge to keep water clean. Pledgers will be entered into a raffle for prizes courtesy of our sponsors Boss Excavating, Trugreen, and Kurtz Brothers.
How do you plan to manage your leaves this fall?
"Leaf" it on the lawn
Community leaf collection
Mix and match
N/A - I don't have any leaves to manage!
Here are the full results from last month's poll about where readers have seen Franklin Soil and Water lately:

Community Events & Workshops

Social Media


School Trainings, Webinars & Roundtables

School Classrooms
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e: mmohr@franklinswcd.org
Connect with us online!
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 | www.franklinswcd.org