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Scarsdale's Other Leaf Effort Gets Underway

fallleavesThis article was submitted to Scarsdale10583 by Lee Fischman of the Scarsdale Leaf Educaction Task Force: Scarsdale residents accustomed to Fall leaf piles and to Village vacuuming trucks are soon to discover there's another way – mulching on site. "Mulch mowing" uses lawnmowers to grind leaves into a finely shredded material that settles inconspicuously into the lawn, enhancing your lawn while also mitigating the need to haul and dispose of Village leaves outside of Scarsdale.

Despite the fact that mulch mowing has been adopted by other Westchester communities and that Scarsdale's parks, recreation fields, schools and other properties are currently mulched, Scarsdale residents have been slow to adopt the practice. The Village and school district contractors and crews find mulch mowing to be an effective and time saving method of managing fall leaves to benefit the properties. Many local landscapers are also finding that mulch mowing is good for their business, as leaves immediately processed during mowing don't have to be blown and then hauled. For that matter, basic leaf (and grass) mulching simply involves passing a mower over a lawn and not collecting the cut material.

Last week a Village Leaf Education Task Force was convened with the mission to educate residents and landscapers about mulch mowing, initiate a community dialog, and facilitate the possible transition from vacuuming. The Task Force is composed of representatives from the Village Board of Trustees and Staff, Village Conservation Advisory Council, Scarsdale Forum, Friends of the Scarsdale Parks, Junior League of Central Westchester, and the League of Women Voters. The Greenburgh Nature Center, an organization with extensive knowledge and experience with mulch mowing, has been contracted by the Village's Board of Trustees to assist in the design and operation of the educational effort. The mulching education campaign will include:

• A Village-wide post card mailing;
• Live demonstrations of mulch mowing in Chase Park, to be conducted by commercial contractors. At each demonstration, a raffle will be held for a lawn mower mulching kit, including installation. The raffle will be open to landscapers only;
• Online and cable TV videos of mulch mowing demonstrations;
• Online mulch mowing resources at and elsewhere;
• A short survey to gauge resident attitudes on Village leaf collection and other options;
• A Leaf Information Hotline to assist residents with questions;
• A Public Information and Comment Meeting at Village Hall scheduled for November 25, 2014;
• Informational banners to be hung at Post and Crane Roads and Chase Park

The Village's leaf mulching campaign is independent of any potential change in the Village's collection practices, as residents can mulch leaves regardless. The Task Force seeks to encourage leaf mulching through mowing and other means, to educate residents and landscapers on the wide variety of circumstances in which it is appropriate, and to introduce tools and practices which can dramatically improve results.

The Task Force is already soliciting public comment and questions. Voice your opinion by taking the Leaf Mulching and Handling Survey:

The Leaf Information Hotline also is now open at 722-1314 to assist interested residents in getting started with mulch mowing.


0 #27 Crossway Comment 2014-11-05 09:01
It was not a smell at Crossway 15 years ago, it was a STENCH and many of the residents on Stratton, Archer, Harvest showed higher levels of health issues associated with the compost pile, causing symptoms such as rhinitis, itchy eyes, eczema and most importantly asthma. Molds grow on leave piles and that was why CATCH fought to have the Village close it down
+2 #26 HowItReallyWorks 2014-10-21 16:47
I get, like many Village residents, too many leaves too mulch. Most need removal to not kill the lawn, and blowers do that job best. But blowers remove all matter on the grass..chopped leaves or full ones.

So nobody with too many leaves to mulch can mulch and clean leaves concurrently.

But mulching a few of my leaves is good for the lawn so I use a Leaftron mulched to fill a couple of lawn bags with mulch to spread after Fall cleanup but before snow.

I reduce the size of my leaf pile, benefitting the Village, and I improve my lawn.

In Scarsdale, mulching can't replace leaf pickup.
+2 #25 ReplaceOrReduce 2014-10-21 15:35
I'd like to hear from Mr. Fishman, who submitted this article as a member of Leaf Education Task Force, if their agenda is to have mulching replace Village leaf collection, or have residents mulch some of their leaves to reduce collection costs. His piece's opening sentence suggests mulching as a universal alternative to collection.

It is not.
+1 #24 TheTruth 2014-10-21 14:09
Nobody's put down mulching: an otherwise beneficial technique for feeding lawns and reducing, not eliminating, the need for leaf removal. But the fact is most of us cannot mulch all our leaves without smothering the grass, and a service needed by most residents is one history shows is best administered by a citizen managed government program.

I appreciate, just like elderly residents and school taxes, that you don't directly use the service you pay for. Two points though: you indirectly benefit from a cleaner community that, like good schools, helps keeps property values high.

Second, if the Village wants to reduce taxes as a result of eliminating leaf collection that's one thing. But I assure you, your taxes are at best increasing slower, not going down, should leaf collection no longer be municipally provided.
0 #23 Astonished 2014-10-21 13:33
I'm astonished at the aggression shown against leaf mulching in place on lawns. I do this currently - my gardener simply mows over the leaves and the fragments remain in place. I have a lot of trees so this happens time and again as we move through fall. Mulching and re-mulching prevents any buildup. Winter comes and goes and my grass comes in stronger thanks to recapturing the nutrients.

Removing leaves is simply removing fertilizer from your lawn - a very strange practice. Mulching in place is easy and beneficial.

And then there's the cost. $800K??? Why are those of us that mulch being forced to pay for everyone that doesn't?

Maybe the people that insist on removing their leaves should just pay for it themselves? We don't have to agree on sensible lawn practice but why not put your money where your mouth is?
+1 #22 2oyvey2 2014-10-20 15:41
Dog walking, at least as far as the vast majority of us are concerned, is the process of taking our leashed animal on to public property.

Did you really think I meant to convey that dogs could not, by virtue of local law, do their business on, and with consent of the private property owner?
-2 #21 Oy vey 2 2014-10-20 14:32
So you wrote:

Dear “Something,” not too long ago the Village made dog walking of ANY kind illegal, even if you picked up after the animal.

And the truth is:

"recently enacted law that actually forbade pets from doing their business on Village streets and other public property"

Big difference.
+1 #20 Link 2014-10-20 12:42
0 #19 Crossway mulching hasnt been 2014-10-20 08:55
it is true that the village previously mulched leaves near the Crossway fields. However that program was abandoned about 15 or more years ago, due to neighbor complaints about smell. Someone did ask about re-initiating that program, however current laws would not allow something to like this so close to a residential area. It is understandable too, you can't completely mitigate the odors that are produced during a very large scale mulching operation.

Perhaps lack of knowledge that this mulching operation has long since passed explains the number of comments that the village has been selling compost.
-2 #18 Oy vey 2014-10-19 23:09
Can you confirm that leaves are being sold in this way? I just did a quick search and haven't been able to find any municipalities that do that. Please send everyone the evidence! I did notice that Morris County sells back compost, but I don't think Scarsdale would have the space to run a composting facility.

Google is pretty good for confirming outlandish items like "Scarsdale outlaws dog walking". No evidence been found. I'm good for a laugh though - can you point everyone to the exact article where this was reported?

To the guy who mulches, do you use a mulching blade or do you just pass your mower over the leaves? Big difference.

There will be a public hearing. Maybe I'll attend too. Show up and shout your opinions! Should vacuum collection stop, and should the Village even bother educating residents about mulch mowing?

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