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It’s finally fall…my favorite season. I feel like summer flew by and that March 2020 was only two months ago rather than six. But alas, fall is here, and I’m thrilled. I love the cooler temperatures, the beautiful leaf colors, the breeze, pumpkin lattes and donuts, football and the sound of a good marching band. The sights, sounds, and smells of fall bring back so many good childhood memories that make me smile.
Like most children, I enjoyed playing in the leaves. Making leaf piles and throwing leaves in the air. Even riding my bike through big leaf piles in the road, which I clearly recall my father warning me not to do.
Now, as an adult and homeowner, I see leaves in a different perspective. I still enjoy their beauty in the fall and making leaf piles for my kids, but I also realize the hassle they can present for those wishing to keep leaves off their lawns. As a town employee, I receive requests periodically from citizens that are concerned about large leaf piles being left along the curb in their subdivision. That can be problematic.
In a natural, undisturbed area leaves fall on the ground and remain in place to decay and integrate with the soil. That’s a good thing because decaying leaves release beneficial nutrients into the soil. However, in developed areas where leaves are piled up in the street, those same nutrients are concentrated and carried by stormwater runoff to the nearest stream. Nutrient build up in a stream can lead to algal blooms, which can be harmful to both humans and aquatic organisms, such as the flame chub, a fish species of concern in our watershed. In this case, the stream receives too much of a good thing.
Additionally, leaf piles on the roads and sidewalks present a safety hazard for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians because they create slick conditions. They can also clog stormwater inlets and pipes leading to drainage issues and an increased chance of flooding.
Finally, it is against the town’s adopted property maintenance code to deposit the accumulation of leaves or yard clippings into a public road or sidewalk. Violation of this code may lead to a fine.
As a property owner, there are several acceptable ways to manage leaves on your property.
Living Earth West
8707 Joe Daniels Rd
Living Earth East
6323 Rutledge Pike
Living Earth Downtown
2601 Middlebrook Pike
With falling temperatures come falling leaves. Please keep in mind the fate of the beautiful leaves we are fortunate to observe here in East Tennessee and enjoy the moments of fall that bring you joy.