« Defending high fructose corn syrup | Main | Time to update KCI »

January 02, 2009

Autumn yard waste

Jerry McDonald (12/27 Letters) wrote that fall mowing of leaves is a good thing and he hasn’t placed a single leaf bag at his curb in five years.

Well, Jerry, I’m glad you don’t have leaf bags. I have spiny ball bags. Seems that back in the ’70s, Kansas City decided to plant sweet gum trees throughout the city because they were fast growing and provide shade. Unfortunately the sweet gum trees drop not only their leaves but those nasty little spiny balls. They litter not only the yards, but the roadway as well.

In the cul-de-sac where I live, we rake the street and our yards. Why? Because you can’t walk barefoot in the yard, and the balls clog the sewer openings. They don’t decompose. Sometimes the city sends out a street-cleaning truck to sweep up the mess, but there is no regular schedule for this. If there were, we would surely rake them into the street and let the city clean up the mess they created.

Evelyn M. Cochran
Kansas City

Joe Virgo (12/27, Letters) doesn’t rake his yard. Aren’t you the good citizen?

I am able to get out and mow my leaves when they fall off my trees. However, being a senior citizen, when winter comes and “your leaves” blow into my yard, I can’t get out and mow them. If you would take care of your trees and leaves, even though you work 10 hours a day, then I wouldn’t have to worry about what to do in my yard.

Since you work 10 hours a day, how about hiring someone to do your yard maintenance? I’m sure your neighbors would certainly appreciate it. I certainly would appreciate my neighbors doing the same.

K.C. Gregory



Boy, the more of this I read, the happier I am we got the neighbors we got down here in South JoCo. Whenever I think we bought too big a house and property and should think about downsizing and moving closer in, I have to remind myself that winning the neighbor lottery should not be underestimated.

By the way, about those spiny balls (which has me thinking of South Park's Chef) -- here is a funny bit from the Wiki page for Liquidambar styracifula, or American Sweetgum. It's one of my favorite Latin names for any plant...

"The male and female inflorescences are on different branches of the same tree. The fruit, popularly nick-named a "space bug", "monkey ball", "bommyknocker, "bir ball, "gumball" or "sticky ball", is a hard, dry, globose, compound fruit 2.5-4 cm in diameter and composed of numerous (20-50) capsules. Each capsule has a pair of terminal spikes, and contains one to two small seeds."

BOMMYKNOCKERS!!! You gotta love that!



Part of the fun is looking at what the justification the Europeans had for taking over this country....

"Look, these ignorant savages haven't rules of property ownership like counties, racial covenants or personal ownership of the given land, nor do they rake their spiny balls."


I think we're missing the point. Part of owning/renting a house is taking care of the yard unless you live in a maintenance free subdivision. I own my house and I take care of the yard (including the leaves from my large maple trees). I have several friends who live (and own) in condominiums - they don't want the hassle of yard work. Wonder what the codes are in their neighborhod - perhaps one of the neighbors could report them to their local code inspectors to have it checked out next time. Another option would be for this person to live in the country where they wouldn't have to worry about being considerate towards neighbors.


First time I remember us making the same pun...............


So is Manuel Labor


Day Labor is a huge industry.


Or if you are really concnered, simply go down to the unemployment and/or welfare office and tell them you need somoene that is stcuk in poverty to do some part time work. Make sure to pay them union scale however.


If that is all you must contednw tih in life, consider yourself blessed.


Do as I do Mr. Gregroy for the last ten years I have cleaned up the leaves blowing out of the lazy sob's yard on the corner into my garage. This year I have just started with a leaf blower returning them all to him. He has seen me do this now five times, but he is smart enough not to say anything to me.



Maybe the guy works 10 hours a day because he has to. You should donate 2 hours of your weeks pay to have his leaves raked, I'm sure he'll gladly take his kids to McDonalds for a change.

"spiny ball bags"....that joke wrote itself.


Let's look on the bright side, shall we? Evelyn, there are few trees with a prettier leaf or more beautiful fall color than the American Sweetgum. Most trees drop litter of some sort. If it isn't hedgeapples or acorns or cottonwood fuzz, it's sweetgum seed pods. Trees have to drop this stuff in order to procreate. That's Nature.

And Mr. Gregory, you now have half the leaves on your lawn that you would have had if you didn't rake your leaves last fall. And who knows? We might get another blast of 70mph winds that will blow them back to your neighbor's yard!

About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright