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Test results — compost analytical reports included — often convey constituent concentrations in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). Both state the fraction of the tested substance found per one million units of gas, liquid, or solid.
But what does that really mean? Is 1 PPM a drop in the bucket or a thimble of water in an ocean?
Such infinitesimal amounts can be difficult to visualize, but here are a few examples found on the web that may help:
One of the best analogies is 1 ppm equals one large mouthful in a lifetime of eating. But it must be said: just a small bite of the wrong thing can be one bite too many.
That’s why it’s important to always correlate reported concentrations with the limits deemed safe by regulators and other jurisdictional entities. Typically, for easy comparison, these ceilings will be reported in an adjacent column on the lab report.
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Nature drops fall leaves for a reason, and it’s not to give sightseers an excuse to tour the countryside. Those red, yellow, and gold gems will eventually decay to help fertilize the soil for the coming season. So, no, leaf raking is not a necessity.
Know, however, that the fall leaf drop can wreak havoc on stormwater systems. One should, at the very least, make the effort to keep those leaves well away from stormwater inlets and flow pathways.
Use a mulching mower to break up the leaf mat and accelerate biodegradation once that colorful blanket starts to fade.
If you can’t get through October or November without grabbing a rake, rough chop some of those leaves and use them to mulch planting beds and gardens.
The remainder can go to composting, of course. Add them to your backyard compost pile, or prep them for curbside collection following your municipality’s guidelines. And, please, do remove plastics, metal, glass, and other contaminants before moving those leaves to the curb.
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