September 2022
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!
Happy Fall!
Let's talk fall lawn care, leaf management and composting
Storm Drain Leaf Leaves Trash
Brace yourself for the chilly weather, pumpkin spice lattes, hayrides, mums, and flannel... Fall is officially here! Fall is a great time to do some lawn maintenance, plant a tree, and wrap up your gardening projects for the year. Let's brush up on fall lawn care, leaf management, and composting.

Did you know that leaves can pose a problem for storm drains? They can clog up the storm drain and prevent proper drainage. Nobody wants to deal with a backed up storm drain during a big rainstorm. Plus, the leaves will break down eventually and release nutrients into our waterways. Nutrients are great for your lawn and garden, but nutrients can be problematic for waterways and water quality. Too many nutrients in waterways can lead to algal blooms and other problems. Gross. Let's not "clutter the gutter."
So Many Leaves... What should I do with them?
"Leaf" the Leaves - One option is to "leaf" the leaves on your lawn! Leaves provide habitat for many beneficial insects in the fall. By leaving it on the lawn, you are leaving habitat for insects AND adding nutrients back into your lawn - which helps improve plant growth for your turfgrass or gardens. You can mulch them into smaller pieces so they will break down faster. Leaving it on the lawn will not kill your grass.
Composting - Another option to compost the leaves. Leaves make a great "brown" for your compost. They are full of nutrients and help make great compost that you can then use with your plants. We like to call compost "garden gold." By composting your leaves, you are reducing your waste and saving money by not having to buy compost or garden soil.
Yard Waste Disposal - Still have too many leaves that you don't know what to do with? You can dispose of them via community yard waste disposal or leaf collection. Check with your local municipality to learn about yard waste disposal or leaf pickups. Learn more about yard waste disposal from our pals at SWACO.
Fall is For Fertilizing

University research has shown that fall is the best time to fertilize. The shorter days and cooler temperatures encourage root growth. The grass will use what fertilizer is available in the fall, and the remaining unused nutrients are frozen in the soil and used in the spring after the soil warms back up. If you do fertilize, now is a great time.

If you’re not sure if your lawn needs fertilizer, order a soil test from Ohio State University’s Extension office. It will tell you what type of fertilizer you need and how much you need to apply, if any!

In the debate of organic fertilizer vs. synthetic fertilizer vs. no fertilizer, we can say that organic fertilizers are typically slower release than synthetic fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers provide immediate greening and growth compared to organic fertilizers, but the choice is ultimately up to you whether you want to use synthetic, organic, or no fertilizer.

Regardless of what kind of fertilizer you do or don't use, we always recommend following the product labels and instructions when using any products or chemicals. More is not always better, so please follow the instructions carefully and closely. Concerning any chemicals or products applied outdoors, check the weather first. Do not apply if there is rain in the forecast in the following day or so. We want the product to have ample time to absorb first - not wash away.

Check out the Get Grassy program website for more tips and tricks. Take our Get Grassy pledge for a free rain gauge!
Community Backyards Generic Graphic 2022
Community Backyards - Closing Soon!

We have had 2,700+ people participate in Community Backyards already this year and rising! Plus, 1,400+ people have already gotten their rebate this year. If you haven't participated yet this year, you should participate asap. Take a 15-20 minute online course where you will learn about what you can do to protect water quality beginning right in your own backyard! We cover rain barrels, rain gardens, native plants, and composting.

The online course will close Monday October 3 at 12pm and remain closed until next spring. Participate asap, and don't forget to get your rebate this year.
Question of the Month
How do you manage fallen leaves?
"Leaf" it on the lawn
Yard waste collection
Combination of these
N/A - No yard or no leaves to manage!
Here are the full results from August's poll asking if Fido has a Franklin County dog license:


No, but Fido is licensed in another county


N/A - I don't have a dog
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Read the latest edition of the monthly newsletter Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Nature Scoop September 2022 - Save Monarchs; Fall Planting Decisions; Tips for Our Yards & More!

Learn more at and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613 | e:
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 |