A different way to take care of your leaves in Missoula - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

A different way to take care of your leaves in Missoula

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MISSOULA - It's that time of year when the falling leaves become orange, yellow and red piles lining the streets. 

Halloween has come and gone and now everyone's favorite holiday is just around the corner -- the City of Missoula's leaf pickup day

Most Missoulians tend to rake their leaves into piles lining the streets, waiting for the city's leaf collection program to do its thing. Others load them up into big, festive bags.

In both cases, they end up going to the compost heap. With so many leaves meeting that fate, they must make great compost, right?

"Actually leaves don't compost very well. There's just a high carbon, they have a high carbon content, and so they are a little difficult to compost," said Missoula Wastewater Superintendent Starr Sullivan.

So what's the best way to take care of your leaves?  If you haven't raked yet, there's good news -- you don't have to.  Instead, pick up a mulching blade for your mower, make a couple of passes over your lawn and it'll chop the leaves super finely. After that, just leave them.

"I've been doing that for the last few years," said Sullivan.  "Once you run them with a mulching blade, they're just really tiny, fine particles. And then they just add nutrients to your lawn. I think that's the best way."

So leaves can be mulched, but what about that pumpkin turning to mush on your porch? 

Jack-O-lanterns are a little too messy to be mulched, but unlike leaves, those festive orange fruits actually do make great compost - and Garden City Compost will take them for free.

Missoula's leaf collection program runs intermittently until mid-December, or until the season's first major snowfall.

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