Misbeleafs about fall lawn care

Misbeleafs about fall lawn care
Posted on 10/12/2023
park setting in the fall with leaves turning colors

Each autumn, our staff encounter many misconceptions about leaf cleanup and tree maintenance. Don’t fall for these misunderstandings when you’re planning your lawn and garden care over the next few months.

MYTH: “Neglecting to clean up your leaves is a code violation.” 

Fact: City ordinance does not require property owners to remove leaves. We do encourage residents to be a good neighbor and pick up their leaves so they don’t blow in surrounding yards. If your neighbor isn’t taking care of their leaves, it’s kind to ask if they need help. They might be elderly, recovering from an injury or have other physical challenges.

MYTH: “Raking and bagging your leaves is the only healthy option for your yard.”

Fact: There are other good options for getting rid of leaves. Mulch mowing is an easy, cost-effective way to dispose of your leaves. Mow over the leaves with no bagger attachment. Then, attach the bagger and collect your leaves. The fine collected leaf material can be used as a nutritious mulch around trees and in garden beds. Leaves are also a great compost ingredient. 

If you are bagging your leaves, make sure to use compostable yard waste bags, not plastic sacks. Check with your waste hauler on the number of bags they’ll collect each week — some companies will pick up more bags in the fall. 

MYTH: “It’s OK to sweep leaves into a storm drain.”

Fact: It’s illegal to dump anything down a storm drain — that includes leaves, grass, trash or chemicals. If you spot anyone dumping something down a storm drain, report it. Call Lenexa Municipal Services at 913.477.7880.

Avoid piling your leaves along the curb or sweeping them into a street, too. They’re likely to blow into a neighbor’s yard or a storm drain. Grass and leaves clog the drains and can become a breeding ground for rodents and insects.

MYTH: “I should wait until trees start blooming in spring to remove dead trees and limbs.”

Fact: Dead wood can be removed any time, and it’s less mess to remove branches with no leaves. Winter, when trees are dormant, is the best time to prune. The Arbor Day Foundation suggests waiting until the coldest part of the winter has passed to start pruning.

Other tricky tree situations

Street trees are the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain, so you can — and should — remove dead trees or limbs on your property next to the road. If a neighbor’s tree extends onto your property, you can trim the tree back to your property line. 

Any trees or branches that fall onto your property from an adjacent yard are your responsibility. If you’re worried about a tree that looks dead or diseased, talk to your neighbor.

Published Oct. 12, 2023