Landscape MaintenanceSustainable Landscaping PracticesFall is also a great time to practice blower-free landscaping practices. Leaves are a great source of nutrients that can be passed to lawns and garden beds through mulching. Grass clippings and leaves can protect pollinators, suppress weeds, nourish the soil and minimize the need for chemical fertilizers. Also, leaf sweepers, rakes and brooms can assist with easy leaf clean-up on hardscapes and landscapes.
Rather than blowing leaves to the curb for municipal pickup, please consider maintaining property with mulch-mowing, simply allowing the shredded leaves and grass clippings to fall back into the lawn. The shredded material will decompose to organically nourish the soil and turf for stronger growth. Leaves may also be moved around shrubs and trees or to garden beds and backyard compost piles. These widely accepted practices, already embraced by many residents and landscaping professionals, are in keeping with the guidelines of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Healthy Yards Project (www.LMHealthyYards.org) which is dedicated to helping residents achieve safe, sustainable and appealing properties.
Sustainable Leaf Maintenance
Fall leaves are a valuable resource that most homeowners waste by blowing them into the street for eventual town pickup. Too often these curbside leaf piles spread out in the roadway, clogging storm drains and making roads dangerous for driving. As leaves sit on our streets, excess nutrients such as phosphates and nitrogen run off the decaying piles into storm drains and waterways. The collection and disposal of fall leaves costs Westchester County $4 million annually and additional costs are incurred when storm drains must be cleared of leaves to avoid flooding.Is there a better way?
Whether you pay a lawn care service or do it yourself, the easy and cost-saving answer is to mulch mow your leaves! Mulch mowing offers a simpler, healthier, and more beautiful method of yard maintenance. It returns natural nutrients to the grass by finely chopping clippings and scattering them over the lawn. Mulch mowing combines the three key steps of any lawn care regime – mowing, disposing of the cuttings, and fertilizing – in a single step. This is as simple as running over leaves once or twice. Leaf mulch can be left on the grass, or collected in the mower bag and spread on beds or a compost pile.
Watch this short video to see how!Benefits of Mulch Mowing:
- A healthy property:
- recycles nutrients back into the soil to feed lawns, reducing the need for fertilizing;
- protects plants by keeping soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer;
- keeps weeds at bay, reducing weeding or the need for herbicides;
- retains moisture, lessening irrigation needs;
- stops erosion; and contributes to topsoil.
- Saved time and effort: Mulching leaves in place is easier and faster than raking or blowing leaves to the curb.
- Consideration for your neighbors: Mulch mowing is kind to your neighbors. It allows them to work and study without excessive noise, and to enjoy the promise of peace and quiet that draws many people to Larchmont in the first place.
- Public Health protection: Gas-powered leaf blowers create ground level ozone which have been correlated with increased pediatric asthma rates. Gas-powered leaf blowers distribute PM 2.5, small particles that are able to penetrate deep into our airways, increasing free radical peroxidation and producing epigenetic (DNA-altering) cellular damage.
- Savings for the Village: Transporting and disposing of leaves left near curbs requires the Village to budget for leaf collection equipment and people hours. Mulching saves that money for other programs.
- A better environment: Mulching leaves provides winter habitat and sustenance for insects and their eggs, small creatures and dormant plant seeds
Noise Code and Landscape EquipmentLeaf blowers have their own regulations and enforcement parameters. Visit the Leaf Blowers page for more information.
Other motorized gardening equipment (aside from leaf blowers) are regulated with their own section in the Noise Code. Any gardening equipment powered by an internal combustion engine (aside from leaf blowers) may only be operated during the following times:
- Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for lawn mowers only if being operated by an individual occupant of the property (i.e. no contractors)
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday and holidays: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Water Saving Tips
There's plenty of ways that you can save on water (and a lot on water bill costs) as part of your landscaping routine. Check out these water saving tips developed by the Larchmont Environmental Committee!
Larchmont Mamaroneck Healthy YardsPesticides and herbicides have been proven to have a negative effect on the health of our families, pets and pollinators. They contaminate our waterways and disrupt the ecosystem that can normally reduce pests in our yards naturally. The Larchmont-Mamaroneck Healthy Yards Project is dedicated to presenting safe, beautiful and easy alternatives for living with outdoor spaces that thrive. Whether you work with landscape professionals, tend to your own yard or cultivate a container garden, we invite you to enjoy the advantages of making it healthy.
If you would like a healthy yard sign for your property, please fill out THIS FORM (links to the Town of Mamaroneck website).