Don’t Leave the Leaves!
Falling leaves may be pretty, but if too many pile up on the lawn and sidewalks, they can become troublesome for landscaping and a danger for those walking by. Here’s what to know before heading out to rake:

Don’t burn
Leaf burning is a fire hazard that can lead to air pollution and health problems. The open burning of leaves produces particulate matter and hydrocarbons that contain toxic, irritant and carcinogenic compounds, such as carbon monoxide. Burning leaves is not recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Do bag
Bagging leaves is moderate physical activity that helps build upper-body and core strength and gives you the opportunity to get outside for some fresh fall air. But keep in mind that sticks, rocks, pine cones, limbs and other debris should not be mixed with loose leaves.

Mow them down
To make the chore easier and keep your grass healthier, mow the leaves first, running the lawn mower over them where they lay. If you have a bag on your lawn mower, this can help collect them, too.

Blow them away
If leaves fall on sidewalks, porches or driveways, they can become slippery and hazardous in the rain. Remove them as quickly as possible to prevent any unwanted falls.

Remember the gutter
Removing leaves and debris from gutters can help melting snow and ice flow freely, lessening the chance for ice dams and leaky roofs.

Try composting
Composting helps soil retain moisture and nutrients and increase fertility. When leaves are composted along with grass clippings, the resulting compost becomes organic fertilizer or mulch for flowerbeds, gardens or around shrubs. The EPA’s Web site offers a free detailed guide on how to create your own compost pile in your backyard. The most important thing to note is what can and cannot be composted. (Stay away from meat trimmings and bones—they may attract pests.)

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