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Oh, beautiful green leaves of spring and summer, you created so much enjoyable and needed shade and magnificent beauty for humans. Now that the autumn season is upon us, Bloomington-Normal will spend approximately $500,000 at taxpayers’ expense to vacuum browned leaves and haul them to farms miles away, versus being used as much-needed organic fertilizer under the tree which the leaves descended.

Recall the nitrogen cycle: the fallen leaves descend within the “drip-line” circle (the area of the outer limbs of the tree) to benefit the microorganisms, worms, nematodes, etc. that strengthen the tree’s immune system. Rain saturates the decomposing leaves to produce “leaf tea” for the longevity of the trees, like what coffee does for humans. Mulching blade companies, such as Husqvarna, point out that the nitrogen of the mowed grass and the carbon of the decomposing leaves is akin to being a beneficial super-food for the soil that supports the tree roots.

Most people have lawn mowers that can mulch leaves. Placing this mulch around the bases of trees would complete the nitrogen/carbon cycles. Instead, the city picks up mounds of leaves from the streets and curbs and spends $500,000 to do so, which could instead be used to fund new native trees for beautification or carbon sequestration.

If people realized the truth of nature and God’s perfect, biological, ecological laws of existence, we would be gladly and eagerly mulching all leaves. We should help our city governments save money and sustain trees for future generations.

William D. Gustavson, Bloomington 


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