In Pennsylvania, we have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful changing colors of leaves during the early fall months of September and October. However, come mid-November, as both rain and temperatures fall, those glorious, colorful leaves start to fall along with them.
Along with all these falling leaves also comes falling twigs, brambles, branches, and even tree fruit. By the start of December, a pile of yard debris next to a bare trunk has replaced the majestic, full tree that stood in August.
Besides just looking dreary, all of this yard debris can present serious safety hazards for your family members and visitors. Find out the best ways to treat fallen tree debris as autumn turns into winter.
Premises liability is the legal responsibility of owners to ensure their property is safe and free from hazardous conditions. This includes removing tripping hazards, cleaning up slippery floors, lighting outdoor areas appropriately, and much more.
A few inches of rainfall on top of fallen leaves can create a slippery combination. If you own property, and that property becomes hazardous to visitors, you can be held legally responsible if someone is injured on that property.
There are three distinct types of premises liability. Each one pertains to the individual property owner, because a homeowner is different from a landlord, who is different from a business owner. The three types are as follows:
Removing leaves and branches from an entire yard can sometimes be a long task, so if you can only tackle it in small parts—make sure to start by removing all debris from the walkways on your property.
Frequently-trafficked driveways, paths, outdoor stairways, and sidewalks have the most potential to injure someone if they are slick with fallen leaves. After tackling the walkways, clear debris from other parts of your property until all hazards are gone.
In an urban landscape where space is hard to come by, where do you put those leaves that you just spent all that time cleaning up? One big place not to rake leaves is into the street.
While the City of Pittsburgh will remove leaves that have fallen on public streets if they are creating a safety hazard, it is not permitted for any Pittsburgh resident to rake leaves from their property into the street. This offense can create concealed hazards for other drivers using the road, and it could result in fees or legal action.
City of Pittsburgh residents can get some assistance from the City when it comes to disposing of that tree debris from their property, after the property owner has collected it all from their premises.
The City provides composting for leaves and other yard waste to residents. Environmental Service crews pick up leaves curbside at least once during the fall season. Residents can also take yard waste to one of the participating Department of Public Works drop-off sites. Yard debris, including leaves, grass, plants, tree trimmings, branches, and shrubs are accepted at the East End, Hazelwood, and West End drop-off locations. For more detailed information regarding this service, visit the Department of Public Works Website.
Each city and county in PA have their own ways that residents should dispose of yard debris. Check with your local government to see if composting and yard debris pickup exist where you live.
The foliage in Western Pennsylvania is one of the best parts of the season, but it can be dangerous after its descent to the ground. Just like when it snows in the winter, property owners should try to promptly remove all slipping hazards, like fallen leaves, from their yards for everyone's safety.