SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s called fall for a reason and it has consequences for lawns and rain gutters.
“We’ve done a lot of houses that have developed foundation (problems),” said Adam Planting of Gutter Clean of Sioux Falls. Gutters clogged with leaves can cause water to pour over the gutter and block the down spouts. The water that is not draining properly can make its way down into the foundation of a house and damage it.
“Now it the perfect time,” Planting said of contacting a business like his that cleans gutters. “People tend to wait until the last minute,” he said.
Leaves are also falling to the ground.
The leaf, yard and tree branch drop-off site on Lyon Boulevard south of the fairgrounds and near the intersection with 12th Street has already accumulated a good-sized pile of leaves and other yard waste. Tree branches were stacked up in a pile on the other side of the property on Oct. 19. The city has another site on Chambers Street, west of the city’s household hazardous waste facility. The sites are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays through Nov. 26.
There are alternatives to raking the leaves and dumping them at the disposal site.
South Dakota State University Extension said this month that residents should “Consider putting a low fence around some of your trees. When you rake your leaves, dump them in the fenced-off area (make sure to not crowd the base of the tree!) and let them decompose like mulch. This will keep them off your lawn and provide insects with a place to rest over the winter.”
Using leaves as mulch for a garden is also an option, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The leaves will feed micro-organisms to make the soil healthier and help plants grow stronger, according to the USDA. The leaves also reduce the need for fertilizer.
People may also choose to leave their leaves on the lawn in the fall. The University of Minnesota’s Turfgrass Science has some advice for that choice. Leaving a covering of leaves across a lawn with lots of trees can be risky because it can smother the grass in the spring and also lead to snow mold diseases. The post said having a leaf covering over 10% to 20% of a lawn would likely be fine.
People can rake their leaves and leave some covering or mulch their leaves using a mower or special attachment. or specialized mower.
There is also the option to clean gutters without using a hired service.
That will require a ladder. The West Virginia Extension Service has this advice: Never step on the top two rungs of a step ladder. If an extension ladder is used, “always extend the ladder three rungs beyond the roof edge and secure the ladder from tipping with rope at the top or the base.” If that is not practical, it’s a good idea to have another person hold the ladder and stabilize it.
Getting on a ladder to clean the gutters can be dangerous for the non-professional, Planting said. And not everyone has a ladder, Planting said.
Planting’s business will use a scoop and bucket to clean out gutters, he said. The next step is to “Flush every single downspout,” with water, just as if it’s raining, Planting said. The flushing makes sure the gutters and downspout drains are clear of debris, he said.
The other piece to gutter cleaning is inspecting the roof, Planting said.
West Virginia Extension said a homeowner should “never crawl out onto a roof as it is considered extremely dangerous.”
Planting said it’s their job to inspect the roof and record any hail or other damage while checking gutters.
Leaf clearing or mulching is at least an annual job. So should cleaning gutters, Planting said.
Even if the house doesn’t have large or many trees around it, the gutters should be cleaned at least once a year, Planting said. Road, construction and even gritty debris from the shingles can collect like dirt in the gutters, he said.
The city of Sioux Falls has some advice for residents using the leaf, yard waste and tree branch drop-off sites.
Residents must dump the leaves or yard waste from plastic bags. The sites have a separate area for pumpkins. Leaves and yard waste should not be dumped in the tree branch deposit area.
Also, the old leaf drop-off site on Lyon, just to the west of the fairgrounds, is not open to the public. Signs declare there is no public dumping there.