Q: My homeowner association spends a lot of money to have palm fronds cut down and removed. Is there any reason we can not use the fronds as mulch?
A: The only reason not to reuse the fronds as mulch would be because of disease and/or cost of recycling. It is beneficial from an environmental standpoint to use the landscape leaves and yard waste on the property. Reusing landscape waste helps improve the soil texture and nutrient levels when composted material is placed back onto flower beds and shrub areas. Less time is wasted transporting the yard waste from one site to another and gasoline usage is reduced. In addition, removal of some solid waste placed into landfills is beneficial. Ideally, the waste could be ground and composted on the site too. This additional step would add important micro-organisms to the soil. So, your homeowner association (HOA) will need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the yard refuse because cost is always a factor. Your HOA may have a landscape committee where the pros and cons could be investigated more thoroughly. To further assist you or your HOA I have attached a link to a UF/IFAS publication titled, Converting Yard Wastes into Landscape Assets, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HE005