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(609) 883-2900 
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

Landscapers: Love'em and Leave'em

How to Get Started

You may already be familiar with Ewing’s new “Love `Em and Leave`Em” leaf campaign – a campaign based on a similar and successful campaign embraced by Westchester County, NY to encourage residents to embrace leaf mulching, grass-cycling, and composting on their property.   Ewing Township also encourages  property owners to manage their fall leaves in this more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly manner.  

Ewing Township Ordinance 21-08 enacted unanimously in mid-April 2021 and effective June 13, 2021, mandates that leaves and other yard debris (including grass) no longer be placed loose at the curb.  This enables Ewing Township to meet New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rules.  Leaves may be bagged in biodegradable paper bags or, as an alternative, be placed in containers for pickup by the Township.  We recommend our "Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em" program as a much more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of leaf management!

We understand that you may provide lawn maintenance services to our residents, perhaps employing standard fall leaf clean-up methods.  These standard practices – blowing leaves into piles on the street (no longer permitted by ordinance) or raking them into brown landscaping bags stacked curb-side, left for eventual town pickup – involve unnecessary costs in terms of crew labor, dumping fees, and fuel.  This practice can also lead to clogged storm drains and excess nutrient runoff (phosphorus & nitrogen) polluting our waterways. The blowing and vacuuming of leaves, double-handling, shipping, and relocating leaves can all be avoided by mulching your clients’ leaves in-place. 

Shredding fall leaves (or summer grass) using a mulching mower where they are on the lawn, using shredded leaves as a winter mulch on landscape beds, collecting shredded leaves into compost piles, or simply leaving leaves under the trees in wooded areas are all examples of using nature's own method of turning old leaves into rich, new soil.

We ask for your cooperation in accepting these alternate leaf managementpractices and in offering them as an environmentally sound “green practice” to your clients.  Check out additional information, “how to” video demos,and/ FAQs about mulching-in-place, grass-cycling, and composting of leaves below.

How to Mulch in Place

Mulching leaves involves switching to mulching blades (the Gator Mulcher blade is preferred by most landscapers) and closing your mower deck's exit chute so that the leaves stay in the deck for another rotation so they get chopped into smaller pieces. With the right equipment, you can simply mow leaves into lawns. Deep piles of leaves can be also be mulched and any excess shredded leaves blown onto landscape beds, avoiding the necessity of bagging or hauling leaves off site.

Watch these short videos about Love 'Em and Leave 'Em techniques, equipment requirements, and mulching issues as told by professional landscapers. Also, read the FAQs below for more detailed information.

Mulch Mowing Techniques for Landscapers

Mulch Mowing Techniques for Landscapers (Spanish)

Simple recommendations on successful mulching in place for landscapers

We offer the following recommendations from landscapers who already successfully manage their clients' landscapes following the Love "em and Leave 'Em precepts:
  • SLOW DOWN! Mulch mowing is different than grass mowing.
  • Install mulching blades (e.g.; “Gator" blades) on mowers.
  • Close the mulch plate on the mower deck.
  • Keep your mower blade well-sharpened.
  • Mow grass high through the fall so that leaf shreds can settle between grass blades.
  • Adjust the blade height to 2.5-4 inches high.
  • Mulch when leaves are dry or semi-damp, whenever possible.
  • Take on no more than 2/3 or 3/4 of a deck's width of material at a time.
  • Face discharge to the work-to-be-done side for easy re-grind when necessary.
  • If required, multi-pass to shred leaves completely (around 1" square is target size).
  • On subsequent passes, use a criss-cross pattern over the lawn to minimize rutting.
  • With deep leaf piles, raise the front of the mower to "attack" into the pile, then lower deck back down. Repeat this "raise & lower" chopping technique as required. (Hint: a counter weight on the rear of the deck helps reduce the effort to raise/tilt the chassis.)
  • Blow excess leaf shred on surface of turf across a wider lawn area to even out. Excess shred can also be blown into nearby landscape beds as a mulch.
  • Collect, then mulch-mow excess leaves next to a 'target area' where you desire to use the mulch.
  • Utilize the "rolling chop" technique to maximize crew efficiency. (See the FAQ section below for description.)

Things to Tell Your Clients about Love'em and Leave'em

  • "You'll have a greener lawn because as leaf mulch breaks down over the winter it naturally fertilizes the soil."
  • "You'll end up with a healthier lawn because leaf mulch improves soil structure and soil biology."
  • "It also helps improve drainage and water retention."
  • "We won't have to make vehicle trips to pick up and dispose of all your leaves, so it's better environmentally."
  • "It will be quieter because we use our blowers less."
  • "It will be compliant with Ewing Township's updated leaf and brush guidelines."
  • "Keeping leaves out of storm sewers helps to protect water quality in our streams, lakes, and rivers."
  • "Grass-cycling during the growing season provides similar benefits for lawn fertilization, soil health, and labor/cost reduction."

How Love'em and Leave'em Benefits Your Business

  • With LELE I need fewer hours of labor on each property, a smaller crew.
  • I can save money by eliminating tipping fees, by avoiding the cost of purchase and maintenance of specialized equipment such as vacuums, and by reduction of seasonal fuel requirements.
  • Since LELE helps me keep my costs down, annual increases of my client's autumn cleanup bill are more reasonable, when required. So my profits are not impacted.
  • Within a year or two, the benefits of mulching-in-place can be seen on the properties that I manage.
  • I can effectively respond to my client's concerns about ensuring a more sustainable, healthier future.
  • I can promote and differentiate my business as 'environmentally-friendly' and 'green.'

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions about Mulching in Place.  Should you require further assistance please email the Ewing Green Team or submit a question using our Feedback form.
What equipment do I need to mulch in place?
If you are a professional landscaper, simply operate your mower in "mulching" configuration (with the deck plate shut). The after-market Vulcher 2 is an example of a professional-grade mulch door accessory.

You should also make use of specially winged Gator Mulching Blades which are designed to maximize shredding. (Mulching blades are typically the same cost as a regular blade and fit all standard manufacturers' mowers.) Remember to keep your mower blades sharp!