• Lynn Youngblood: What do you do with all that yard waste?

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  • Many have often found gardening to be a relaxing hobby. There is nothing like digging your hands deep into rich soil. Indeed, digging can be a good way to release tensions built up through the week, planting can give a feeling of rejuvenation, and mowing can be a peaceful, uninterrupted time for reflection. Then there is complete satisfaction when standing back after a hard day’s labor; you look upon the beautiful transformation you have made to your own little piece of the world.
    Thoughtful landscaping can dramatically increase the value of a home. You can reduce energy costs by planting deciduous trees that shade south and west exposures and evergreens as windbreaks on north exposures. Proper landscaping can also attract desirable wildlife that add quality to your life. Butterfly and hummingbird gardens, rock gardens for colorful skinks and lizards, also create nesting sites for wrens and chipmunks. Planting certain shrubs and trees for their fruits and seeds will attract vibrant birds. Providing water is a final step in making your yard an urban oasis for wildlife.
    All of this sounds wonderful, right? But, in spring and fall when its time to clean up the landscaped beds, many homeowners are faced with what to do with all of the debris. The leaves, vines, and twigs that come out of any average garden. Some trash service companies offer the option of picking up vegetation, but you usually have to pay for it. With today’s economy, it may be hard enough to justify the landscape let alone the debris expense.
    Recognizing this quandary, municipalities are trying to help out homeowners with this dilemma and Eastern Jackson County has a brand new option. A partnership consisting of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Jackson County Missouri, Mid-America Regional Council, and the cities of Grain Valley, Oak Grove, and Blue Springs have recently opened a Yard Waste Collection Center. This is for yard waste only mind you, it’s not for trash, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass, metal, tires, or hazardous waste.
    I know when I lived in town this was one of the biggest stumbling blocks for me in terms of gardening. The trash company I used did not offer yard waste hauling. While I did compost, I still had an enormous amount of yard waste. I believe other homeowners must feel similarly trapped and thus, dumping yard waste on public lands is a continual problem.
    The Yard Waste Collection Center is a great solution to many homeowners who garden, or who would like to garden. There is a fee, but it is very nominal ($1.00/bag, you can also take pickup, trailer, and truck loads).
    If you have been hesitant to garden because you did not have a place to take your yard waste, or could not afford the monthly or annual fees your trash hauler might charge for collection, I hope you look into this option. Then, you too can exercise your green thumb! Happy trails!
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    Reach Lynn Youngblood at TheGreenSpace@sbcglobal.net .
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