Fall in Love with Leaves

Its Fall! Time for cool mornings and pumpkin spice everything. And, while nothing says fall like fallen leaves, sometimes they can feel like a barrage.  If you’re thinking there’s got to be a better way to deal with those leaves than hauling bag after bag to the curb, you’re right. Here are three things to consider as you tackle the autumnal abundance.

Rake Into Beds

The best place for leaves is right on the ground – raked under your trees and shrubs or mowed into the lawn. This returns nutrients back to the soil and provides shelter to caterpillars and other overwintering insects. Come spring these insects will get to work as natural pest control in the garden, and they in turn will feed new clutches of baby birds. This native mulch also suppresses weeds and holds in soil moisture. A great return for “leaving the leaves”.

If all your landscape beds have a 3-4″ layer and you still have leaves here are some good options:

  • Start or feed a compost pile (scroll to the end for a downloadable manual)
  • Heap up 6-8″ in a corner along with branches and hollow stems for a simple insect hotel
  • Stockpile to put around tender shrubs as insulation over the winter

If you regularly contend with a lot of leaves, consider sucking instead of blowing. Units that vacuum and shred leaves as you go really help reduce the volume and small pieces break down faster into rich compost wherever they end up.

Out of Drains & Gutters

One place leaves don’t belong is in the stormwater system. Don’t blow leaves into the drain, its illegal! Stormwater flows untreated into local waterways and all that extra debris depletes oxygen, reducing water quality for fish, dragonfly naiads and a host of other aquatic organisms.

After a rain check for needles, sticks and other debris that may be lodged in driveway culverts and drain inlets near your house. Keeping the stormwater system clear reduces flooding. It also prevents formation of small, stagnant puddles ripe for mosquito breeding.

Fall is a great time to check those gutters, too. Pay special attention to sections under trees as well as roof valleys (where two sections of roof join). As these areas fill with debris you risk damage to the roof and you create more ideal mosquito breeding sites, right at your doorstep.

Fun with Leaves

Albert Camus wrote “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” There are 168 words to describe leaf shape, arrangement, venation, and edges; take some time to delight in the variety. Have a leaf scavenger hunt or make a leaf print bookmark. Learn the language of leaves.

Leaf Print Bookmark

  1. Collect leaves from the neighborhood that have interesting shapes or vein patterns
  2. Use a brayer, roller, or brush to apply paint to the underside of a leaf. Do it sparingly so that the texture appears
  3. Place painted side down on a heavy sheet of paper or cardstock
  4. Cover with a scrap piece of paper and use a rolling pin or straight-sided can to press the leaf down evenly
  5. Remove the scrap paper and peel the leaf back gently from the stem end
  6. Let the print dry and embellish with doodles, stickers, glitter or stamps
  7. Punch a hole at one end and loop through a piece of ribbon or yard to complete the bookmark

Other ways to use the leaf print technique:

  • Decorate brown kraft paper for a tablecloth or placemats
  • Stamp over newsprint for recycled wrapping paper

Check out the Texas A&M Forest service for help identifying native trees.

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

See you Saturday

You don’t want to miss this event. Native plants, bags of compost, water saving devices, bird feeders and more will be given away this Saturday to the first 300 vehicles. ALL FOR FREE! 

Come out to the Sterling Ridge Park and Ride (8001 McBeth Way) from 9 a.m. to noon for the Woodlands Landscaping Solutions Drive-Through.  No need to get out of the car. Volunteers will place the free giveaways into the trunk or back storage space of your vehicle. Don’t forget to make plenty of room to collect them all! 

Want to make your lawn and garden beautiful but not sure where to begin? Resources for gardeners of all levels are available at this event in addition to free garden supplies. Interested in installing a rain barrel or improving your turf grass? Want to attract more birds to your yard or save time, money and water in the garden? You’ll get all the information you need to tackle those weekend projects. 

Giveaways include:  

  • Bags of Leaf Mold Compost 
  • Water Saving Devices 
  • Native Plants 
  • Wildlife Feeders 
  • Vegetable Seeds 
  • Children’s Activity 
  • Wildflower Seeds 
  • And More 

The fun and learning continues the following week (September 28 – October 2), too. Each day we deliver you more resources and how-to’s. That’s right, we have hand selected videos from experts on gardening, natural pest control, water conservation, lawn care, attracting pollinators, edible landscaping and much more – all accessible from the comfort of your home. Check in daily here for Woodlands Landscaping Solutions Online Learning. 

One last thing, there‘s still time to purchase a compost bin or rain barrel to pick up this weekend. 

High quality C.E. Shepard Compost Bins can be purchased for $50 (half off retail price). To purchase by phone, call 281-210-3900 weekdays between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  To purchase online, create or login to your Active account here.   Bring your receipt to the drive-through on Saturday.   

Purchase rain barrels online from The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. for $85 (only $42.50 after Woodlands Water Agency rebate). Bring your receipt to the drive-through on Saturday.  

Event Reminders 

  • Remain in your car 
  • Wear a mask 
  • One giveaway per vehicle 
  • Come early! 

Visit our event page here for more information about Woodlands Landscaping Solutions Drive-Through.

Questions or comments? Contact enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov 

23rd Annual Woodlands Landscaping Solutions

Woodlands Landscaping Solutions Drive-Through

Sterling Ridge Park & Ride (8001 McBeth Way)

9 a.m. – noon

Saturday, September 26, 2020


The area’s premier annual lawn and garden event, hosted by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department, takes place as a drive-through this year. Improve your home landscape with giveaways and resources. Items are great for all gardeners, beginner to expert. 

Be sure to arrive early. Giveaway supplies are limited to the first 300 vehicles. Limit one item per vehicle. 

Giveaways include: 

  • Compost 
  • Water Saving Devices 
  • Native Plants 
  • Wildlife Feeders 
  • Children’s Activity 
  • Wildflower Seeds 
  • And More 

For Your Safety 

Please follow these guidelines for the safety of residents and staff: 

  • Residents are to remain in their vehicle at all times. 
  • Masks are required. 
  • Staff will place items in the trunk, bed or rear storage of vehicles. 
  • Drive slow, follow directional signs and watch for staff directing traffic.

Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Pick Up: 

Purchase a compost bin and pick it up at the event. Bins are $50 each (half off retail price). To pay by phone, call 281-210-3900, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To purchase online, create or login to your Active account here.  

Bring a copy of your receipt to the event for pick up. 


Purchase a rain barrel and pick it up at the event. Rain barrels are $85 each (50% rebate available through Woodlands Water Agency). Order online at www.thewoodlandsgreen.org/rain-barrels.  

Bring a copy of your receipt to the event for pick up.


Learn from the Experts 

Join us the following week (September 28 – October 2) for Woodlands Landscaping Solutions online learning. Tune in each day to the Environmental Services Blog for expert instruction on sustainable gardening and landscaping topics including drip irrigation, garden pest control, backyard composting, attracting butterflies and pollinators and much more. Watch from the comfort of your own home. Then take what you learn and turn your lawn and garden into a healthy, beautiful landscape. 

Questions or comments? Contact enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!

Tips for celebrating at home

April 22, 2020 marks 50 years of celebrating Earth Day and the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Although a monumental day such as this is usually celebrated with festivals and mass gatherings, there are still plenty of ways to recognize this milestone and do good for the planet. 

Discover the natural world in your own backyard.

Become a Citizen Scientist by observing wildlife and logging pictures using iNaturalist. Download the app, snap a picture, receive help identifying species and help scientists conducting global research. 

Start a garden to grow your own vegetables or to support pollinators

  • Keep organic waste out of landfills and create rich additive for your garden by starting a compost pile with green food scraps and yard waste. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Right 

  • Reduce the amount of waste you generate by choosing reusable alternatives and purchasing items with less packaging. 
  • Extend the life of products by reusing them; get creative by turning trash into treasure. 
  • Recycle right. Check with your local government about current recycling practices. Remember not to bag your recyclables and only put the specified items in your recycle bin.  

Watch a new documentary, webinar or presentation to learn more about our environment and how to preserve it for future generations. 

Stay Connected  

  • Think globally by subscribing to national and world-wide environmental organizations. This website has compiled a list of several groups that educate on important causes around the world, making it simple to learn how you can support their efforts.  
  • Act locally. Subscribe to The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Blog for ways to get involved in our community. Input your email at the top right of this screen and click the link in the confirmation sent to your email from Wordpress.  

Make Earth Day every day by continuing to practice environmentally friendly habits. If you would like more information on how to be green in the spirit of Earth Day or opportunities to get involved in our community, contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281.210.3800 or enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.   

Final Compost Class

That’s right, March 7 is the last chance to join us for a FREE backyard compost class this spring. Classes will return in the fall, but why wait ‘til then?

With warmer weather on the way, you might be thinking about doing a little yard work, maybe fertilizing the yard or flower bed. What better way to provide quality nutrition for your soil than with your very own compost? Turning your kitchen waste, yard trimmings and leaves into compost is pretty simple!

Composting experts will share how to set up your bins, explain different methods of composting, such as aerobic, anaerobic and  vermicomposting (using worms), what to put into your compost, the benefits of compost and multiple resources to ensure success.

Looking for more resources on composting? Check out this article here.

Backyard Compost Class
Saturday, March 7 from 10 to 11 a.m.
Park, Recreation and Environmental Services
8203 Millennium Forest Drive
No Registration Required

Reminder that Saturday, March 7 is The Woodlands Marathon. Check out this traffic guide to help you navigate the best route to our compost class.


Questions? Contact enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov