City of Bedford, Indiana

Lawn & Garden
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grass clippings, twigs, leaves and other yard waste

When grass clippings, leaves, and other yard materials are blown onto streets, they will eventually be washed into stormwater systems. Leaves and debris either get caught in a drain or culvert causing local flooding, or flow through stormwater systems directly into rivers, streams or stormwater ponds. Yard debris is organic, so when it enters water bodies, it decays and eats up the oxygen in the water which will harm aquatic life. 

Here are some points to remember and some alternatives:

  1. Grass clippings do not cause thatch build-up in the lawn. Thatch is last year’s roots and stems, not clippings.
  2. When mowing the lawn, leave grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings will provide 1/3 to 1/4 of the nutrients your lawn needs in a year. This saves you one fertilizer application per year!
  3. If your local government provides curbside yard waste collection, keep the yard waste and leaves on the edge of your lawn - not on the road.
  4. Compost leaves and grass clippings at home
  5. Sweep grass clippings and other debris off the pavement and into your lawn, garbage, or compost pile. If it rains or you use a hose to clean off your pavement, the debris will be washed into your local stream, lake or river!
  6. Vacuum Leaf season runs October and November each year on your trash day.  We will be in your neighborhood to pick up your leaves each week. If you are on a special assistance or rear loader route, your leaf day will be the day others in your neighborhood have their trash picked up with the automated trash truck. All leaf season leaves that you want to be picked up with the vacuum CANNOT be bagged. If you do not mulch your leaves, please rake them in a pile within 3 feet of the curb in your lawn, not in the street. Leaves clog storm drains if piled in the roadway.   Please do not place leaf piles on water meter lids or too close to the trash toters.  
The Benefits of Mulching
  • Soil enrichment: Leaf mulch returns nutrients to the soil.
  • Water conservation: Mulch helps retain moisture in soils.
  • Less waste: Won’t need to have bags for yard waste.
  • Insulation: Leaf mulch acts as an insulating barrier from the heat in summer and the cold in winter.
  • Weed control: Mulch helps reduce the growth of weeds.
Leaf-mulching tips
  • Keep mower blade sharp
  • Set mower blade to 2.5 inches
  • Mow dry leaves
  • Push mower slowly
  • Mow when there is no more than 1 inch of leaf litter
  • When adding mulch to gardens, do not put right up to the base of plants or trees. Make the mulch no deeper than 2 to 3 inches.
  • For those who use lawn services, ask them to leaf mulch.
Uses for leaf mulch
  • Leave it on the lawn
  • Dig leaves directly into the garden to add organic matter and the nutrients
  • Put leaf mulch on gardens and flower beds or around trees and shrubs. Source: York Region Solid Waste Management

Yard Waste Toters
Green compost yard waste toters can be purchased with the Sanitation Department paying half the cost and the customer paying the other half of the purchase cost of the Toter. Approximate cost is $25 to customer and will be delivered after payment is made. You can place your leaves, unbagged, in the green compost toter year around and CALL to have the toter emptied. Call the sanitation department to have your COMPOST TOTER EMPTIED at 812-279-9222.