Leaves a Falling
Edited by Dave Ernes – Lake Management Committee
Once again it is time for the annual falling leaves article. By the time this article is published, we may be days or weeks away from the time when the trees become a painting of fall colors. The problem starts once they fall.
Every year, it is a good idea to remind residents that blowing their leaves into the lake is wrong, and that you can be fined. (The fines range from $100 for first offense to $300 and loss of membership rights for the third.) This also applies to grass clippings and other lawn debris.
Why is this the case? Because leaves are high in nutrients. The Planet Natural Research Center web site states that 50-80 percent of the nutrients that trees absorb end up in their leaves. If the leaves end up in the lake, they will decompose, releasing their stored nutrients that are then available in the fall or next spring to trigger algal blooms.
If you think this is an issue just for those living on the lake, leaves accumulating in the drainage culverts in off-lake properties can breakdown and the resulting high nutrient “tea” will flow into the lake through fall rain events.
What you CAN do:
- Some articles suggest leaving leaves on the lawn as it becomes dormant during the winter. However, too thick a mat could result in mold formation and thick mats can smother the lawn when it tries to awaken in the spring.
- Most articles suggest that you mulch your leaves when mowing. Mowing more often in the fall will allow your mulching mower to do the hard work for you. When they are mulched into small pieces, the nutrients can be extracted much easier by water or rain and become absorbed by the soil (not the lake!) reducing the need to use as much commercial fertilizer in the spring. And it’s free!
- The old answer of course is to bag your leaves each fall. You can always have your landscaper do it for you, or a young student looking for some quick cash. Whoever does it, they should all follow the guidelines of the Association.
- If you do collect the leaves, and don’t want to use them to protect your plants or to produce compost, you can dispose of them, along with other fall debris, in the Village’s Compost Site rather than the trash. This site is a great Roaming Shores resource! (A key can be obtained from the RRA office or Village Hall during normal hours. Special arrangements can be made to keep the key during off-hours.)
With the help of all our residents continuing to act as stewards of Lake Roaming Rock, our combined efforts will eliminate one more threat to the health of our biggest asset.
(Original Article written by Tim Langer)
Remember to Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible