Yard Waste

Your fall leaves are a valuable resource that most homeowners let go to waste by having them blown into piles on the street, or left for town pickup costing municipal tax dollars. Often these vast piles spread out, washing into the storm drains and potentially clogging them.

Simply leaving the leaves in place both fights climate change and supports local biodiversity and beauty.

For information on maintaining Health Yards go here, including additional resources for leaf mulching.

Leaf Blower laws.

A growing number of municipalities in Westchester have strict regulations or outright bans on the use of gas powered leaf blowers. This is to minimize noise, protect soil health and air quality, and reduce emissions. Irvington has a schedule, required permits and a ban coming in 2023. See guidance for landscapers below.

Three are many solutions to yard waste which will benefit the soil and ecosystem. The following descriptions are taken from the Recycle More Wisconsin website.

Grasscycling

Grasscycling is leaving grass clippings on the lawn to decompose. Grass clippings are mostly water. When you mow regularly, clippings quickly decompose and release nutrients to fertilize the lawn. Research shows that when grass clippings are left on the lawn, one-third less fertilizer is needed to achieve the same color and grass density found on lawns where the clippings are removed.

Mulching

Mulches help soil retain moisture, moderate temperature fluctuations, and reduce erosion and soil compaction. Yard wastes such as grass clippings, leaves, and chipped or shredded brush and branches can be used as organic mulches. Organic mulches are usually applied three inches deep over the soil and around plants to achieve the benefits of mulching.

Mulching Leaves in Place

Leaves are rich in carbon, phosphorus, and potassium - all essential nutrients needed by plants, including turf grasses. Simply mow leaves along with the grass during fall, and let the small leaf pieces filter down among the grass blades. Three to four passes may be required to chop leaves fine enough so that they filter through the turf and expose grass leaves to sunlight.

Composting

Composting is a natural recycling process that can be done at home with lawn and garden waste. Microorganisms from the soil interact with compost materials to help break down plant matter. Proper moisture, air, and temperature aid these microorganisms in their work. Finished compost is used as an organic plant food and soil amendment. For more information on Composting, go here.

Vermicomposting

Red worms live in the upper layer of the forest floor. These worms can turn food waste into nutrient-rich humus for gardens and houseplants. A mere tablespoon of worm castings provides enough organic plant nutrients to feed an eight inch potted plant for over two months. Use a worm composting bin or vermicomposting bin to make a valuable soil amendment out of things like: old newspapers, vegetable food scraps, trimmings from house plants and other organic materials that would normally be thrown away.

Links & References

More details and lots a useful reference links can be found on these pages:

Homeowners: If you employ a landscaper or have a neighbor who regularly operates a leaf blower, please talk with them about effective alternatives for clearing leaves, mowed grass and driveways / walkways. As the client, you have a right to demand the type of lawn care services provided by your landscaper.

Demand practices that are both courteous and environmentally sound. If they can't or won't manage their employees' use of leaf blowers on your property and throughout your neighborhood, it's time to look for a company that will. Healthy Yards has compiled this list of Sustainable Landscapers.

Our printable flyer (PDF) contains important, information (outlined above) about the negative environmental impacts of leaf blowing. Consider distributing it to others. If you already use good environmental practices in caring for your property, thank you.

For Landscaping Professionals

In September 2017, the Irvington Board of Trustees enacted a local law requiring registration by landscaping professionals that do business within the Village of Irvington. The law requires registration by February 1 each year. Upon registration, we will provide you with mirror tags for your vehicles to properly identify that you have registered. Download the Registration Form (PDF).

Of significant importance is your adherence to the newly-enacted gas powered leaf blower regulations below. If you have any questions, please contact the Village Administrator, Larry Schopfer, at 914-591-4358 or by email.

Gas-powered leaf blowers permitted subject to the following restrictions:

March 15 through May 15 (Spring cleanup) and October 1 through December 15 (Fall cleanup)
Permitted Times:
•  Monday through Friday – 8:00am to 5:00pm
•  Saturday – 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Sunday and Federal holidays – Not permitted

All blowers must meet EPA exhaust standards and be operated and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and specifications.

No gas-powered leaf blowers permitted, except those listed in the “Year Round” section below.

June 2 through September 14 and December 16 through March 14

Year Round

Gas-powered leaf blowers permitted:
•  When responding to an emergency or removing snow.
•  Golf and tennis clubs and municipal employees performing their regular duties, but not within 100 feet of the nearest residence.

Electric or battery-operated leaf blowers permitted with no limitations.

Local Law #8 of 2020 bans gas-powered leaf blowers by 2023