Info You Can Use
Video & Voice
Promotional Tools
Exhibits & Demos
Classroom Curriculum
Student Projects
Directory of Contacts
External Links


Join the Cause & Become a Partner button

Seasonal Yard Care

Keep yard waste out of local lakes and rivers

Yard waste, including leaves, grass clippings and other organic debris, carry lots of phosphorus. If left in the street or a paved surface, they can be washed into local streams, lakes and rivers and cause green, smelly algae to grow out of control.

Tips for homeowners
Warning sign

Leave your grass clippings on the lawn whenever possible. Mulching mowers and mulching attachments for mowers reduce the size of grass clippings, thus increasing the rate at which they decompose. Mowing on a regular basis with a sharp mower blade produces clippings that decompose fairly quickly. They do not contribute to thatch build-up because when they decompose they become a valuable organic source of nutrients for grass plants. In fact, yearly nitrogen applications may be reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 when grass clippings are left on the lawn.

Keep leaves, grass, branches and other debris out of the street. Some cities pick up yard waste from residents during the fall. Others have compost facilities where you can bring your yard waste. You can also use your own compost bin or pile to create rich gardening soil for next year.

Learn more about composting.

Back to top of page

Media Packet 

Fall Yard Care Media Packet

Water resource managers have long noted an increase in phosphorus runoff from city neighborhoods during the fall season – the suspected source being tree leaves falling into the street. Phosphorus is the nutrient that spurs algae growth in lakes, making them look and smell bad and reducing our swimming and boating enjoyment.

City residents and property managers can reduce phosphorus runoff by raking or sweeping streets clean of leaves. What’s in the street can go down the storm drain and into our waters!


Leaves and grass clippings can be composted on site, or taken to a community yard waste collection center.

Back to top of page


©2007 Metro Watershed Partners. All rights reserved. | Contact Us | Terms of Use & Privacy Policy