Spring cleaning isn’t just for the inside of your house. With the days getting longer and warmer, it’s time to focus on your outdoor spaces, too.The city of Mansfield has three cleanup days to get you started, beginning with this Saturday’s Spring Beautification Day. Residents can bring tires, appliances, brush, car batteries, scrap metal and trash and get rid of it for free from 7 a.m. noon.The city, which took over the annual project, has moved the dump site, though, from 501 S. 2nd Ave., where it has been held for years, to 24 N. Mitchell Road, off East Broad Street, just east of U.S. 287.“That was county property,” explained Arianne Shipley, a city education specialist. “People dump out there year round. This gets the traffic jam off the road. Mitchell is one long road and this is on our own property in a fenced area.”Residents will need to bring proof of residency, a driver’s license or a utility bill to all three clean-up days, Shipley said, which also includes Household Hazardous Waste day May 18 at City Hall, 1200 E. Broad St.Storms washed out the city’s recent Mulch Madness day, which has been rescheduled for 8 a.m.-noon April 20, also at 24 N. Mitchell Road.For homeowners, the recycled limbs and brush from the parks department and ground-up Christmas trees is like free fertilizer, weed control and water conservation, all rolled into one.“Once the soil temperature gets over 115 to 120 degrees, it starts to burn the root hairs off the roots and they can’t pull water up through the roots,” said Steve Chaney, Tarrant County Extension agent - horticulture. “The hairs can regenerate, but it takes time.”Mulch also controls the cold temperatures by acting as a “blanket to the ground,” Chaney said. “It helps hold moisture in and doesn’t allow it to evaporate as fast.“Organic form of mulch breaks down into compost and acts as a slow-release fertilizer,” he continued. “It also provides a dark area so weeds can’t germinate.”Recycling brush and Christmas trees helps the environment in other ways, too, Chaney pointed out.“Before we did that, companies had to pay to take them to the landfill,” he said. “We’re helping keep a huge amount of material from going to the landfill. The mulch also acts as a slow-release fertilizer, which keeps people from applying fertilizer. A lot of fertilizer runs off and into lakes, which causes algae.”The ground up mulch is perfectly safe, Chaney said, even if the limbs came off trees that had oak wilt.“By the time they get mixed with other tree limbs and it sits in a pile composting, chances are so minute (of passing on disease), it’s about the odds of a 747 dropping out of the sky,” he said.Mulched plants and greenery also looks better, Chaney said. Shredded bark breaks down better than bark chips, which feeds the soil faster, he said.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM