(CBS) — The nostalgic odor of burning leaves is but a memory in Chicago and many other cities throughout Illinois, leaving behind the problem: What to do with the leaves?

Doris Taylor, a plant information specialist at the Morton Arboretum, says the best solution is letting the mower mulch them into tiny pieces.

“They are going to break down as organic matter back into the soil, preserve moisture and help bring some of those micronutrients and stuff that are needed,” she said.

Taylor suggests not just letting leaves lie flat on the ground till the spring, but instead running the mulcher over the leaves two or three times so they’ll end up about one tenth the volume and ready to protect and feed next year’s plant generation.