Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ah Spring!

Time to make the most of yard debris and cleanup duties

by Joye Redfield-Wilder, communications manager, central region

What glorious weather we've been having across the state!

It's got me puttering around my yard. Maybe you are busy on your property, as well. I don't know about you, but we've had some yard cleanup to do. A few arborvitae trees were so tall they were toppling over and had to come out.

It sure was handy for my husband and I to work as a team -- he cut them down and trimmed the limbs while I separated the logs from the materials that can be chipped and the rest that goes into the yard waste bin.

We've converted to chipping and composting over the last several years - and it's been rewarding in so many ways. We also have a large red oak tree - and acorns!

What to do with them?

We've found we can chip the smaller limbs and acorns into a nice ground cover that we spread among our garden beds. The evergreen fronds of the arborvitae went into the yard waste pickup bin provided by the city.

Chipping yard debris creates a ground cover
The larger logs will make great campfire wood or go to friends who have certified woodstoves. Now's the time to start drying out wood for those purposes.

These are just some ways to tackle yard debris this spring.

While in some communities outdoor burning of yard debris is still allowed -- it’s a hassle. Fires must be attended, property protected and smoke is a health risk and nuisance to your family and others. So don’t take chances!

Instead, chip twigs and compost leaves into a ground cover or mulch for your garden landscape. It saves money and reduces the threat of escaped fires – a top cause of wildfires, especially in Eastern Washington. And helps to keep the air clean. The exercise is good, too.

For more information, check out these alternatives to burning.

What can you do instead of burning yard waste?

If you live in an urban growth area (check on this link) where burning isn't allowed — or if you choose not to burn for health reasons — there are plenty of other ways to dispose of yard waste, including:
  • Chipping
  • Composting
  • Curbside pickup
  • Community-wide or neighborhood cleanup days Taking your yard waste to a landfill (many landfills have reduced or special fees for yard waste)

Earth Day every day

Earth Day is Friday, April 22. (And every day is a good day to inspire better habits for the environment!) In the next two weeks, we’ll have additional blog posts about our work and how you can help protect the earth! Find it all on our social media channels by searching #EarthPassItOn.

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