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57 Ways To Protect Your Home Environment (and Yourself)
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33. Dispose Of Tree Residue

cut wood

If you have had the misfortune to lose a large tree on your property, you’re left with the problem of what to do with all of the leaves, branches, and other wood.

Some wood can be allowed to dry and then burned in fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and outdoor barbeque pits, if local ordinances permit. However, unless you can hire a local firm with a tree grinder or stump chipper, the remaining green branches pose a challenge because many cities no longer collect “green” or landscape waste.

landscape recycling center

First, call your local public works department and ask if there is a yard-waste reclamation facility in your area. You may have to borrow or rent a truck and pay a tipping fee, but some municipalities offer yard-waste recycling services at no individual charge.
felled tree

Other possible sources of information on dealing with debris from a felled tree are local landscaping services and firewood suppliers. These businesses may want your wood and be willing to haul it away for free or at a minimum charge.
wood chipper

If all else fails, consider renting a chipper/shredder and doing the job yourself. Chipped material should be stockpiled and allowed to weather for at least two months before being used as mulch material.
natural habitat

If you happen to be establishing a natural habitat area in your yard, consider placing segments of larger logs and limbs in that area. They can serve as “nursing logs,” allowing young seedlings to grow in the soft organic matter that was once tree trunk.
leaf mulch

Two good uses for leaf waste are composting and mulch. Leaf burning is banned in many communities because of the misery it can create for those with asthma and bronchitis. The bottom line is: avoid leaf burning, even if your community allows it.
burning leaves

If you still want to burn leaves, check with your local law enforcement agency or fire department to find out if any restrictions exist. Even if you do not suffer from asthma or bronchitis, consider wearing a surgical mask during burning to filter out floating particles. Do not burn leaves of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.
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