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Leaf composting beats burning

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The recent article “Ban on outdoor yard waste fires keeps Auburn backyard leaf burns on hold” (Journal, Jan. 13-14) does not address the advantage of not burning the leaves and lawn waste. The readers should have been directed to the “Don’t Bag It” Leaf Management Plan site. It is an ecologically sound program designed to significantly reduce burning and the volume of leaves entering community landfills, thereby extending their life and saving tax dollars. It suggests (residents) save the leaves on your property and replace the nutrients back into the soil. In forests, pastures and other natural settings, tree leaves and other organic waste form a natural carpet over the soil surface which conserves moisture, modifies temperatures and prevents soil erosion and crusting. In time, bacteria, fungi and other naturally occurring organisms decompose or compost the leaves and other organic material, supplying the existing plants with a natural, slow-release form of nutrients. You can, and should, take advantage of this same concept. Leaves are truly a valuable natural resource! They contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a plant extracts from the soil and air during the season. They should be mowed and used as mulch around the yard or composted to provide valuable compost to be spread back onto the lawn or garden. Chemical fertilizers have many “side effects” and are actually detrimental to the soil. I suggest the readers check alternative means to burning. They may also attend composting workshops at the Placer Nature Center, The Roseville Utility Exploration Center, or the Regional Water Efficiency Programs. So please “Don’t burn and run; save them for better days in the sun.” Richard Huntley, Auburn