What's It All About?

Watch the LELENY  PSA (30 seconds).

This Love 'Em and Leave 'Em PSA video is available on YouTube for linking. If you would like to have a high-resolution master for cable or FIOS viewing, check out the various formats available in our Toolkit video section. If none of these formats work for you, please email us with your specific requirements.

PSA created by Edouard Nammour for the Southern Westchester Energy Action Consortium and Greenburgh Nature Center. This PSA was created in support of the the Love 'Em and Leave 'Em program funded by Westchester Community Foundation with matching funds from the Local Sustainability Matching Fund, a project of the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

In the News!

As CBS 2′s Janelle Burrell reports, Fall is the time of year when many homeowners spend their weekends piling up the leaves so county contractors can haul them off to a composting site. A movement known as “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” is catching on across Westchester, in place of the more traditional raking, vacuuming and bagging.

“It’s throwing money away for sure,” landscaper Tim Downey told Burrell. “It’s chauffering the leaves around. We call it taking leaves for a truck ride.”

Watch the entire clip on the CBS 2 news site (1:15 in length, preceded by a short ad). Posted Nov. 25, 2013.

Meanwhile, Leaf Mulching is covered in the New York Times.

"They have been burned, blown into piles, raked into bags and generally scorned by homeowners everywhere. Fall leaves — so pretty on the trees, such a nuisance when they hit the ground — have long been a thing to be discarded. But now some suburban towns are asking residents to do something radical: Leave the leaves alone."

Check out the full NYTimes.com article (.pdf) by Lisa W. Foderaro. Posted Nov. 24, 2013.

Your Leaves: To Love ’Em Is to Leave ’Em…

An Environmental & Cost-Saving Initiative of Westchester County and Local Municipalities

Leaves are a valuable resource that many property owners let go to waste every fall. Leaves are blown into piles on the street, or placed into bags, left for municipal pickup. Too often these vast piles spread out creating a safety hazard for drivers and wash into the storm drains, clogging storm sewers. Leaves decaying on the street also release nutrients such as phosphate and nitrogen (aka “fertilizer”) that eventually wash into our rivers. Ugh! What a mess!

Leaf piles in street, clogging storm drain, leaching into river.
Leaf piles on street cause unsafe driving conditions,
clog storm drains, and leach phosphorus into river.

DPW crew working overtime to collect leaves left curbside.
DPW crew working overtime to collect leaves left curbside.
So as a homeowner or property owner, are there better options? How can we be smarter about how we deal with fall’s bounty of leaves? Answer: Leave ’em at home!

Mulching (shredding) in-place is the best and simplest solution. It is easy to learn, easy to implement, gets great “green” points, and better yet: actually saves time & money!

This practice of mulching-in-place offers many benefits:
  • Saves money: Helps keep your taxes down by reducing municipal leaf pickup and disposal. (Landscapers can also save operating costs by needing smaller crews and avoiding dumping fees.)
  • Saves effort: Many homeowners (and landscapers) find that mulching leaves in place actually is easier than raking, bagging, or blowing them to the curb.
  • Keeps your property healthy: Leaf mulch recycles nutrients into your soil to feed your plants, improves soil health, and helps retain moisture, reducing the need for watering in dry spells.
  • Helps the planet: Transporting and disposing of leaves from your curb wastes energy and contributes to pollution. LELE helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your local community.
By now you’re thinking, “OK, I’m sold! So how do I mulch-in-place? What’s the secret?”


The benefits of the LELE mulching-in-place methodology can be expanded to encompass a three-season lawn care approach when you include grass cycling. Leaving mulched/shredded grass clippings in place adds nitrogen fertilizer and other organics back into the lawn. No special equipment beyond a mulching mower is required.

Do you know the 4 Simple Steps of good lawn care?

Get additional background and "how to" information in our grass-cycling FAQ.

Training and On-Site Consultations

If you use a landscape maintenance company, your landscaper may require some initial instruction in these greener practices, as well as needing a simple, low cost conversion of mowers to perform efficient mulch mowing. But once done, you'll both see an improvement in your topsoil, turf and plantings.

We encourage all homeowners, property managers, landscapers, local municipal officials, and DPW & Parks staff to check out the valuable research information, "how to" videosquestions & answers,  and program resources.

Check out our calendar of training events for upcoming LELE "how to" training presentations scheduled in your area. The EVENTS page also has documentation of recently held events.

Please contact us (email address at top of left column) for information concerning free on-site consultations available to landscape professionals, property managers, and municipal staff.

Find out more about our LELE trainers who are professional landscapers experienced with leaf mulching and grass-cycling methodologies.

Download a list of local landscapers who provide LELE leaf mulching services to their clients.(.pdf)

Landscaper Training in Spanish

Por favor vea este video en espanol de como manejar las hojas del otono lleno de ideas y consejos de parte de la campana Lele leaf mulch mowing, cortar y moler hojas para jardineros profesionales. (Tardacion de video 7 minutos.) Producido con fondos de el concejal de legisladores del condado de Westchester.

Simply Amazing!

I went to a recent Vulcher mulch mowing demo at the Greenburgh Nature Center - it was amazing.  The mower absolutely pulverized the leaves into next to nothing in a single pass.  After a landscaper sees what it can do there is no way that they would want to tarp and/or bag leaves - it just doesn't make sense given this new technology.  Hopefully your landscaper will be convinced, too! 

 - a resident of Scarsdale

Read more about the Vulcher 2.


Don't believe us? Read first hand experiences from folks like you - homeowners, property managers, professional landscapers, municipal officials, and DPW & Parks staff. Each one of these testimonials provides another snapshot of why LELE is a win-win: "It's simple, it's green and it makes cents."

LELE Toolkit

We have also developed a wide range of materials for training, public education and outreach - all of which is available for your modification and re-use. Municipalities, environmental groups, and landscapers have already created customized versions of various items for their own local use.

Bi-lingual "How To" card

Informational Bookmark

Use the Toolbox for free! 

Join in the LELE initiative today!