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11/19/2013Don’t Let Fall Leave a Mess

Now that cooler temperatures have arrived, we will all be spending more time outside enjoying the weather.  Unfortunately, cooler temperatures also mean that the leaves have begun to change and fall, creating work for everyone.  The City of Dunwoody Public Works Department would like to give you some ideas about what to do with the leaves now that they have hit the ground. 

Because leaves are a good source of mulch, the best thing to do is to rake or blow the leaves into natural areas.  This will keep the ground moist which is good for growing plants and shrubs, as well as preventing erosion of the soil.  Bare soil is very susceptible to erosion by water so the more it is kept covered, the less erosion will take place.  Keeping the ground covered with leaves will also prevent weed growth as the weeds will not have soil to root into. 

Ideally, leaves should be used on the property where they fall in order to return nutrients to the ground through composting.  However, most properties will have more leaves fall than can be used on their property, so another method of disposal must be used.  Dekalb County Sanitation will pick-up bagged leaves as long as they are in biodegradable bags and each bag does not weight more than fifty pounds.  Dekalb County will recycle these leaves to create mulch and compost that is made available to the public at no cost. 

Leaves should never be disposed of by being blown into the street. Not only can this be an eye sore for the neighborhood, it can also wreak havoc on the City’s storm drains. Once in the street, leaves will eventually be washed into the storm drain system where they can cause clogging and even flooding of the system.  When the leaves eventually pass through the system, they can cause sediment and debris build-up in ditches and creeks. This buildup can adversely affect the wildlife that lives in and around the streams. 

Some landscape companies will blow the leaves and yard debris into ditches and the storm system.  These companies are the biggest contributor to this problem of leaves getting into the storm system and streams.  Blowing leaves into the storm system is a violation of both City and State ordinances.  Please do your part to help protect our city’s assets by reporting these violations.  Once reported, the Code Enforcement Officers for the City will cite those responsible and have them make the necessary corrections.

Composting leaves and yard debris is an easy and effective way to transform these seasonal fragments into nutrient-rich, water-saving, soil enrichment.  Composting leaves and yard debris also helps save landfill space, conserve natural resources, and improve soil quality.  And come springtime, you may end up reducing your need for expensive commercial soil amendments for your gardens.

Dunwoody needs every citizen help to protect our storm system and streams by keeping the leaves out.  Preventing leaves from being put into the storm system and disposing of your leaves properly will both be critical steps in preserving the system and maintaining water quality for the future. If you would like to report leaf violations please call our Code Enforcement Department at 678-382-6807.

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