More than 30 tonnes of leaves cleared up at Bristol Zoo

Everywhere the leaves have fallen and they look beautiful but they do need to be cleared up and at Bristol Zoo Gardens that is a big job.

More than 30 tonnes on leaves have fallen onto the paths, lawns, flower beds and animal enclosures across the 12-acre site in Clifton in the past weeks.

That is the weight of two double decker buses or enough to fill more than 600 wheelbarrows.

Every day for more than two months the Zoo’s team of ground staff, gardeners and keepers use brooms, spades , rakes and a giant electric hoover to tackle the mountains of leaves.

But that is not the end of the story.

They are then transported on trailers to nurseries at the Zoo’s sister site at Wild Place Project off junction 17 of the M5.

They are then put into one of three separate bays and left for three years. Then they are brought by back to the Zoo as leaf mulch and used on the beds throughout the 180-year-old botanical gardens.

Matt Bufton, gardens manager at Bristol Zoo, said: “We start clearing the leaves from the first frost in mid-September and depending on the weather carry on until the end of November.

“We’ve got to keep the paths clear because the leaves would be a slip-hazard for our guests  and we have to get the leaves off the lawns because otherwise the grass would die.”

Until five years the leaves used to go into general compost for the Zoo but since 2012 they have been recycled as leaf mulch.

Matt said: “It’s  high-quality compost and it has more nutrients and organic matter which is good for all our beds.”


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