Free Branch Disposal and Spring Cleaning

Ryan Ludlow, Boulder County. The Nederland Community Forestry Sort Yard is now open for the season. You can drop off branches, logs, cut grass, raked up pine needles and noxious weeds for free. We are located just north of Nederland at 291 Ridge Rd. (directly across the street from the trash and recycling facility). To use the yard all you need is a truck, trailer or Subaru you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. We are open Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Boulder County opened the Nederland sort yard in 2010 to help you be a great steward of your backyard forest. The spring is a great time of year to get out on your land and begin prepping for the upcoming fire season. Over the past decade our leading national scientists have studied common factors in how homes ignite during wildfires. All of these studies point to the same thing! It is often the little things, that are easy to overlook, that lead to home ignition.

Here is a quick list of actions to consider this spring:

Check your gutters and roof for accumulations of pine needles and leaves.
Rake all pine needles and leaves out from under your decks and away from your walls. Ideally there should be nothing combustible within 3 to 5 feet of all walls and decks.

Clean up downed branches and other accumulations of yard waste. You live in the forest and it is a tad bit windy up here. Those darn trees drop branches every year.

Remove the lowest branches on conifer trees so they have 6 to 10 feet of clearance from the ground.  Avoid removing more than 1/3 of the height of the tree or you could impact its health. Try to vary the height of your limbing so your forest looks more natural.

Cut the grass within 30 feet of your home and outbuildings. This action is especially important if you still have tall dead grass leftover from last summer.

There are plenty more steps you can take to prepare for future wildfires. If you need some help prioritizing where to start and identifying weakness in your home defenses check out our new wildfire mitigation program Wildfire Partners. To learn more about Wildfire Partners and to signup visit us at

As you work on tasks laid out above you are sure to accumulate a giant pile of branches and yard waste. This is where the sort yard comes in. We will take that giant pile off your hands for free. All you need to do is load it up and haul it to us. We recommend loading the pine needles and yard waste into reusable containers or paper yard waste bags. Tree branches can go directly into the back of the Subaru. When loading the material make sure to keep the different types of material (branches, logs, pine needles/cut grass, and weeds) separated in your load and securely tied down. If hauling noxious weeds make sure they are transported in sealed paper yard waste bags.

If you have questions about the sort yard visit our website at or call Ryan Ludlow Outreach Forester with Boulder County Land Use at 720-564-2641.
Happy Spring cleaning!

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