Reusing Yard Waste is Worth the Effort

Overgrown Mums Awaiting Division

Overgrown Mums Awaiting Division

By most accounts, the next few weeks mark the end of summer, and autumn is just around the corner. When it comes to the home and family, school will be starting and the focus of life will slowly shift indoors, away from the yard and garden.

At this point, it’s clear to many that the season’s successes (the harvest) and failures (the weeds and brush) have translated into lots of vegetation around the property that needs clearing.

Even if a homeowner has been keeping up with the lawn and natural growth there’s always the big fall clean-up to consider.

In the past I wouldn’t think twice about trashing branches and clippings or having them brought to the town dump for landfill.

Today, however, I try to reap the benefits of reusing them in the yard in as many ways as possible as much as possible:

Compost Bin

Compost Bin


When organic matter decomposes it provides important nutrients to the earth. Yard trimmings of all kinds can be used for composting including grass, leaves, branches, straw, and more. When mixed with kitchen residue from fruits and vegetables and added to soil, compost does wonders for growing healthy fertile plants.

Just keep in mind that if chemical pest control was sprayed anywhere in the yard its best not to place clippings from those areas in the compost.


Pine Needle and Bark Mulch for Weed Control


Composting and mulching are similar practices but where the former enriches the soil the latter acts as a natural weed barrier and shields the ground from extreme heat and freezing temperatures, while decomposing slowly.

Most homeowners know that mulch is an integral part of landscaping maintenance and have used it. They may not know that they can make it themselves instead of spending a lot of money at hardware and home center stores.


When trimming back trees and bushes you may find interesting branch formations that can be used to decorate both the home’s exterior and interior. Other garden items such as gourds, squash and corn can be dried and used in a similar manner, and herbs make especially good indoor props because of their scents.

DIviding Mums

Dividing Mums

Gift, Sell, Reuse

When we cut back the yard in preparation for winter there is a lot of life that falls to the ground. While composting, mulching, and using for decorations are all resourceful ideas, some of the clippings and divisions can have an extension on life by being repotted.  Then they can be sold, given away as gifts, or reused in other parts of your property.

Guest author Jakob Barry writes for He covers various eco-friendly home improvement topics including garden pest control and  deck installation.

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5 thoughts on “Reusing Yard Waste is Worth the Effort

    1. Jakob Barry

      I know what you mean, Louise. There’s enough regular house prep to go over I sometimes feel like telling the yard to take care of itself! 🙂 Good luck with it all.

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