Less than 10 years ago, landscaping companies would typically wait until the beginning of May for their first seasonal visit, timed for when the grass started to grow in earnest. This first visit would be combined with the cleaning up of branches and some plant debris, and this extra effort would be charged for as a “spring cleanup.”
Today most landscaping companies have been expanding these cleanups. They start earlier and last longer. The cleaning effort in the fall is often dragged out over several weeks. While the leaves on the driveways and hardscapes need some management, self-respecting landscapers today should know better than to blow leaves off the lawn and from planting beds. The blowing rids the soil of important nutrients and can hardly be considered a service to the yard.
And now in spring, there are barely any leaves left, yet we see small armies of blowers chasing a few leaves. For what? Our gardens shouldn’t be cleaned; they should be tended.
There is a good reason that our town has created a narrowing window for these cleanups. While this might seem like a pushback to the landscaping industry, it isn’t. Landscapers can offer us great services. They can use leaves to the benefit of the yard by mow-mulching them and adding them to planting beds. They can remove invasive plants, plant natives, prune trees and shrubs, and make and apply compost.
The problem is that the companies that offer us landscaping services know little to nothing about the landscape. They are more familiar with their engines than with plants. Your yard deserves better. And our environment demands better. Please choose a responsible landscaper, or learn about healthier landscaping yourself and educate your landscapers.
Editor’s note: Healthy Yards is a nonprofit based in Bedford that works cooperatively with many Westchester organizations to promote sustainable and regenerative landscaping. healthyyards.org/westchester/
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