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Yard waste is a thorny problem

March 10, 1997
(Page 2 of 2)

At the Rubble Landfill, the county is using yard waste to make a soil additive similar to compost and is selling it for $12 a ton, he said. Brush is ground up into mulch which is also sold for $12 a ton.

"It's better than fertilizer," he said.

If people manage their lawns properly they can cut down on the amount of yard waste produced and use it to good advantage, Hoch said.

Sandy Scott, horticulture consultant for Washington County's Extension Service, agrees.

`Leave it on the yard'

"Don't pick the darn stuff up. Just leave it on the yard where it will do more good," Scott said.

That may mean mowing the lawn once a week instead of every two weeks and buying a mulching mower but there will be benefits, she said.

For instance, grass cuttings shade the lawn, keeping it cool and preventing evaporation of moisture, and return nutrients to the soil, Scott said.

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"If you mow your lawn correctly ... you actually return two pounds of actual nitrogen to your soil," reducing the need for fertilizer, she said. "The whole secret to mowing your lawn is not letting it (go) too long between cuttings."

Homeowners can also plant smaller trees that produce smaller leaves, Scott suggested.

Terry and Judy Gossard, of East Baltimore Street in Funkstown, don't take any yard waste to the landfill.

They put all their small tree limbs in a mulcher and then spread the mulch in their flower gardens, they said.

Other people bring them grass clippings and leaves, which turn into compost over the winter and is then spread on their quarter-acre garden, they said.

Staff writer Laura Ernde contributed to this story.

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