Fall has finally arrived! Maybe the temperature does not say fall yet, but the falling leaves and pine needles are a sign that fall is on its way. Fall means it should be time for the Fall Battery, Oil, Paint and Antifreeze (BOPA) collection provided by the City of Houston. This year, though, Harvey threw us a curve ball. The city's Solid Waste Department is still working full time picking up the debris left in its wake. You will have to drive to the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center to responsibly recycle BOPA items this fall (houstontx.gov/solidwaste/westpark). They do accept lots of other recyclable items there also, so load up the car or truck and visit them. We hope to have a BOPA next spring. Junky Business, a usual BOPA vendor, is local and will come to your residence or business to pick up scrap metal and large appliances for a small fee. Call Pete at 832-377-5865. At this point, the DEA is scheduled to be at the Kingwood Metro lot from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Oct. 28 to collect outdated or unused prescription drugs. Go to our new website for more details: keepkingwoodgreen.org.
Speaking of falling leaves, I know many of you don’t relish having to rake and dispose of leaves for the next few months. If you at one time lived up north, you know that fall happens really quickly. One night it freezes and in the next week or two all the leaves fall off the trees. You clean them up and the leaf event is over. Not here in the Lake Houston area! Some of our trees, such as oaks, have been losing their leaves for a month now and will continue to lose them until new ones pop out in February or March. Many of our homes have large mature trees and lots of leaves. What’s a person to do?
Many of us, if we don’t have a lawn service, simply rake them up or catch them with our mower and put them in a bag for the trash man. That is such a waste! Don’t be that person. There is a better way to handle all those leaves. Make it your mission to use all organic matter generated on your property on your property. Yes, that means you must stop putting them in a bag and sending them to the Atascocita landfill. Instead, by mulching them and/or composting them, you can retain all the nutrients that you paid dearly for when you bought fertilizers to feed and water to irrigate your trees. Trees and bushes love a nice thick layer of nutrient-rich compost or leaf mold on their root zones. Bark mulch is better than nothing around a tree, but compost or mulch made from the fallen leaves from the tree is so much better!
Personally, I do like “EZ” when it comes to handling all the leaves this time of year. Frankly, the easiest thing to do is to set your lawnmower at the highest setting and then mow over them. With new mulching mowers, most leaves and debris are pulverized and shot down into the turf. There they decay and eventually become rich humus. Only occasionally will you have to mow over twice to make them disappear. If you do have a very heavy leaf drop and mowing the leaves does not do an adequate job, collect some of them and put them in a black plastic bag. Do not, though, send that bag to the landfill. Add a bit of water to the bag if the leaves are not already moist. You might also add a shovel full of garden soil if you can spare a bit. Then find an out-of-the-way spot behind the garage or at the back of your property to stash them for a few months.
What you have started is a composting operation. Composting is not for everyone, but it is a really great way to reduce what you send to the landfill and to turn a waste product into a valuable resource. In my next column, I will give you more specifics on how you, too, can become a successful composter. Until then, mulch those leaves and leave them be!
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Hal Opperman
Author: Hal OppermanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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I grew up in Ohio but, as the saying goes, got to Texas as soon as I could! After graduating from Ohio University with a BBA, I went to work for Humble Oil. The big oil company, now ExxonMobil, moved me around to Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, DC and finally to Houston where I retired after 36 years. Several of us founded Keep Kingwood Green over ten years ago to educate about and advocate for recycling in the Lake Houston area. I was the president of the board of that organization until the beginning of 2017 and remain a board member. Other activities include a large garden at my home in Kingwood and I am also a volunteer at Oak Forest Elementary in Atascocita where the students maintain a large garden. I am the area spokesman for the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association. In 2014, I became a Texas Certified Master Composter and that skill fits in perfectly with my gardening endeavors since composting is a means of recycling. Please send comments or questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..