BYU composts fallen leaves on campus

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It’s raining leaves all around campus as BYU grounds employees rake, blow and haul them off to the compost yard.

The leaves look beautiful spread all over campus and students have fun kicking and stomping to hear them crunch beneath their feet. But for the health of the grass, the leaves need to go on a little journey.

“All of the leaves, all of the grass, and the tree branches that we prune, even up to the tree stumps, we send down to the MHA, that’s Material Handling Area,” BYU grounds supervisor Lans Clemmens said.

In a few days it will look like the leaves have disappeared, but they’ve actually traveled just two miles from campus.

“This is our composting yard,” BYU gardening supervisor Lloyd Patterson said. “Our material handling yard where we process the composting material.”

The crews organize the leaves and other organic material collected into separate piles depending on where it is in the course of its journey.

“The gardeners will bring their leaves into this area and dump them off in the pile behind me,” Patterson said. “And then, through a process of grinding it and running it through the large machinery here, the finer material is loaded back onto the gardening trucks and taken back out onto campus, to beautify the campus.”

The process sounds simple enough but it takes between eight months and a year before crews return the leave to campus as mulch. The colorful leaves around campus will be composted soon so catch the fall leaves before they are gone.

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