Fighting leaves

There's an awesome struggle between man and nature going on this very moment.

The Earth has moved into the Autumn season, gravity is working perfectly, and Mother Nature is obeying all the signs. Autumn light gets more golden, days get shorter and leaves begin to fall from trees.

And they fall and fall and fall.

Enter man into the annual struggle, trying to fight gravity and trees with leave raking. Why? The leaves are going to fall anyway. The invention of leaf blowers and vacuums may have made the common weekend gardener's life a bit easier, but gardeners are still facing a losing battle.

"When the last leaf comes off the tree, I've won," said Carson City resident Don Hataway.

"For now, this is for naught," he added waving towards his bags of leaves.

Chiyo Peterson Garceau doesn't just rake her yard, she embraces modern leave fighting tools and vacuums her lawn.

"Some people don't care about their yards, I do," she said. "I like it looking nice."

Of course, all this raking does bring about the question of what to do with the debris nature scatters about your yard.

You can't rake or blow leaves into the streets. Carson City has an ordinance which states that it is illegal to dump rubbish and a host of other things into any street, alley, road, etc. And yes, leaves are considered to be rubbish. Besides, the street department doesn't like to dig leaves out of city storm drains, said Street Operations Manager John Flansberg.

You could make mulch by throwing leaves, dirt and any other thing that will decompose into a bin and wait for winter to mash it together for Spring fertilizer. You could put them on your flower beds and let them turn themselves into fertilizer.

Or you could just bag it all up and leave it for the Carson City Street Operations Department to pick up.

The street department is conducting its annual fall clean up to help residents rid themselves of the leaves and limbs that come with autumn Last year city crews hauled about 40 trucks worth of debris to the dump in their attempt to help the city stay clean, Flansberg said.

City crewmen will work their way through the city starting Monday at 7 a.m. Leaves must be bagged and limbs must be less than six feet long and tied in bundles so crews can throw them onto trucks. There is no specific day or time when the crews will swing by your house, so have everything ready and on the curb Monday. If your house is missed, call the street department at 887-2345 early Friday and a truck will be sent to your address. There you have it, a simple way to get rid of your fall rubbish that's probably much easier than making mulch.

If none of the above options appeal to you, you could look at this fall ritual as a waste of time. Author Robert Fulgham, who wrote "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" wrote in that book his desire to leave leaves alone.

"Leaves have been falling down for thousands of years. And the earth did pretty well before rakes and people," Fulgham wrote. "Old Mother Nature put the leaves where she wanted them, and they made more earth. We need more earth."

He wrote that why he enjoyed the way leaves looked on the ground, most people, including those who write gardening magazines, do not.

"Leaves should be raked. There are rules. Leaves are not good for grass. Leaves are untidy. Leaves are moldyslimy. But I like leaves so much,I once filled my classroom at school ankle-deep with them. There is a reason for leaves."

Rake the leaves, leave them alone-your gardening habits are up to you. But if you don't want to haul the rubbish to the dump, leave everything on the curb Monday.

What: Carson City Street Operations Department Fall Cleanup

When: Monday, 7 a.m. through Friday

Where: everywhere, just leave your leaves on the curb Monday and the city crew will take them away sometime during the week. If they miss your house, call the street department early Friday at 887-2345, and they will send a truck to your house.

For information on mulching and compost techniques, call Carson City's University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension office at 887-2252.


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