People request mounds of leaves dumped on lawns - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

People request mounds of leaves dumped on lawns

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Raking season is in full swing, as many people work to get their yards spotless.  But some are asking for more leaves, by getting truck loads of them dumped onto their lawns.

Backyard Abundance, an non-profit environmental group in Johnson County that helps people create environmentally-beneficial landscapes, is encouraging people to keep their leaves, rather than have the city pick them up and haul them outside of town to the landfill. Those that are more ambitious can ask the city's street department for more leaves.

Director of the group, Fred Meyer, said it's a good way for people to add nutrients to the soil, while saving energy. In the past, Meyer would ask his neighbors for their leaves for his gardens but, this year, he opted for a much larger mound. On Thursday, a massive pile of leaves was dumped onto his driveway from the Iowa City Streets Division.

"First question they asked me, they said 'we have a full load, do you want the whole thing?' and I said 'yeah, bring it on'," Meyer said.

Meyer said he encourages others to do the same, but it doesn't necessarily have to be to that level.

"This is definitely an extreme level, but I want to create new garden beds with this and this is one of the best ways to create fertile garden beds," he said.

For those not ready to have tons of leaves piled onto their yards, Meyer said the easy start is to save their own this winter.

"Just let them fall and rake them up and just put them around shrubs, put them around their trees and, a lot of times, that will fertilize the trees; provide them with really good soil and really good nutrients," Meyer said.

Watering down the leaves will keep them from flying around the yard.

Blair Frank, of Iowa City, owns and operates Gaia's Peace Garden. 

"We've had a whole semi of city leaves dumped up here," Frank said. He said he's been doing this for about five years.

Frank uses the leaves on every bed in the garden, and on the ones at his own home, to enrich the soil.

"We compost the leaves and they become next year's beauty," he said.

The streets department said few requests to do this come from within town; most times it's to nearby farms. Doing this not only saves the city a trip to the landfill, but they said it lessens the load on its capacity. Requests can be made with city at 319-356-5181.

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