Most people who live in homes surrounded by trees would be expected to take the annual chore of clearing the yard of leaves in stride. But that’s not always the case in Ocean Pines, where the fall ritual is viewed as a major annoyance by some, while others need reminders about the rules of leaf disposal.
So much for the warmth of Norman Rockwell’s painting, “Grandpa and Me: Raking Leaves.”
Nevertheless, there are other ways to dispose of leaves instead of hauling them to the Ocean Pines Public Works yard or having someone else do it. The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists numerous things that can be done with “fall’s most abundant crop.”
First of all, it notes, the leaves of a single tree can be worth up to $50 to gardeners and lawn-proud individuals, who are likely to spend that much on humus and plant food in the spring.
They also can be used as mulch, and, after being shredded by a lawnmower with a mulching blade, can be easily composted for lawn or garden use. Pound for pound, according to the Almanac, they contain twice as many minerals as manure.
As for pine needles, which will kill grass as quickly as just about anything because of their acidic content, it is precisely because of that characteristic that Home Depot sells 160 square feet of it for $85. As a mulch around acid-loving ornamentals, or in the tomato garden, pine straw, as retailers call it, is tough to beat. Weeds rarely poke through a good bed of pine needles, so they are worth keeping or giving to someone who recognizes how valuable they have become,
So, sure, people who have had enough of those falling leaves and dropping pine needles in their yards can avail themselves of Ocean Pines’ services and contribute to the pile of plant material that will be piled in the Public Works yard.
It just seems such a waste when mulched or composted leaves and raked-up pine needles have become worth more than the cost or the trouble of hauling them away.