The economics of mulch

FRANCIS: You’d better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new
circle, As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles
and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something
which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place
of the leaves.

ST. FRANCIS They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

Here is the link.  The economist cackles and sees a typical confusion between engineering and economic notions of efficiency.  Here is what you must do to turn your leaves into useful mulch.  I need Yana to show me how to work the TiVo.  How am I supposed to "add extra nitrogen" to my leaves?  And get this advice:

The second thing to do to guarantee leaf-composting success is to grind or shred your leaves. We will deal with this in detail later on, but let me tell you right now that it will make things simpler for you in the long run. A compost pile made of shredded material is really fun to work with, because it is so easily controlled and so easy to handle.

I am still laughing.  But wait, I am worse yet.  I don’t even know how to buy or use mulch.  I hire Guatemalan immigrants to perform the entire task for me.  For all I know they are out in my lawn right now, measuring out the nitrogen and adding it to my mulchable leaves, patting them into just the right shapes.  But even at $12 an hour, somehow I don’t think so.

Do recognize that modernity has brought considerable reforestation to the United States.


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