NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Autumn leaves are beginning to fall, which can frustrate even the most laid-back homeowner. However, some are embracing them in a new environmental initiative.
New Rochelle and Yonkers have received grants as part of the countywide Love Em and Leave Em (LELE) campaign, which encourages sustainable green gardening.
The cities are educating residents not to throw away the fallen leaves and mowed grass but rather recycle the nutrients from the grass and leaves into the soil, by shredding them and leaving them there.
The New Rochelle City Council unanimously passed a resolution in May encouraging all residents and landscapers to mulch grass and leaves on their yards.
Arguments for "mulch-mowing" are that the leaves feed the lawns with their own nutrients as they decompose; it is easier and faster than raking or blowing them into the curb; and it helps reduce environmental impact made by energy use, pollution, and phosphorus and nitrogen runoff in waterways.
The city has begun mulch mowing on some of its own properties.
“Taking leaves off your property interrupts the natural cycle of nature," Deborah Newborn, Sustainability Coordinator for New Rochelle, said. "Trees absorb nutrients from the soil, grow leaves which then fall back down to the ground and decompose releasing those nutrients back into the soil.
“Mulch mowing leaves and grass back into the soil is free natural fertilizer.”
A free open-to-the-public demonstration will be held on Nov. 2. at Glenwood Lake Park at 1 p.m for those interested in mulch-mowing.
For more information on LELE, check out their website here.