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Michigan DEQ recommends not burning your leaves

Andrew Norton

Well, duh. Common sense recommends that too. I compost my leaves every year and by the end of summer I have a wonderful pile of nutrient-rich dirt to add to my raised beds. Folks, that is free (and environmentally friendly) fertilizer you're missing out on when you burn leaves. Anyway, leaves will be falling soon all across Michigan (due to the summer heat and lack of rain mine aren't even turning color - they're just dropping) and it's much better all around for the environment to compost those leaves than to burn them. Granted, there is something about the smell of smoldering piles of leaves on a crisp autumn day that take me back, but it's just not a sound practice. I'm not turning hippie here, I just happen to agree with the Michigan DEQ and think that a sounder solution is to compost those leaves.

If you don't know much about composting you can feel free to visit a page I made entitled, A Lazy Man's Guide to Compost. You don't need a lot of space (which you'll see at my guide) to compost. I use a 4' x 4' enclosure for my main composting and in the fall I just dump my leaves in a pile next to the compost bin. Come springtime the heavy winter snows have compacted my pile of leaves and I can transfer them to the compost bin.