You may choose to put up a fence of some type to hold waste in as it accumulates. Turn frequently with a shovel or pitchfork and water the pile when dry, to a spongy texture when squeezed. Do not include meat, dairy, oil, fish or pet manure in the compost pile.
Quick fix: If time is not on your side, consider just mowing to incorporate the leaves. Compared with other methods, mowing is a quick and easy way to help rid your yard of leaves.
In smaller pieces, the leaves will break down better and add valuable nutrients back to the lawn. For best results, the leaves should be dry and not piled too deep. Some mowers may have a mulch setting specifically for this method.
Homeowners also can catch chopped leaves to allow the leaves to be easily distributed wherever needed. If you have several large trees and lots of leaves to dispose of, you may want to invest in renting or purchasing a vacuum shredder, which works much better than a traditional blower. Take precautions when shredding or chopping leaves with any type of machine, as damp leaves can clog equipment.
One final note: Do not use any diseased leaves as mulch. These leaves should be collected and disposed of away from plantings. Diseases can over-winter in the leaves and branches and cause disease problems in plants next year.
Tracey Payton-Miller writes a periodic column for The Transcript. She can be reached at 321-4774.