Leaf collection starts in November and a better alternative

Mulching and leaving in your yard is a better choice than the city coming by with a big truck.


Your lawn, garden, and flower beds need nutrients. All those leaves that you rake or blow into a giant pile for city pickup are chuck full for nutrients. A much better alternative is to mulch those leaves with your mower and simply let them stay on your yard.

Ideally it’s best to leave no more than an inch of chopped up leaves on your grass and three to four on your beds. It would be awesome if the city didn’t have to spend all the extra time cleaning up our leaves and could focus on keeping the drains clear.

I realize that city dwellers with a small backyard that is 90% patio the mulching alternative isn’t going to work and that a backyard three feet deep of leaves is not ideal. That being said every little bit helps and mulch what you can. Most leave blowers have a vacuum option and that will do an excellent job of chopping up leaves for use in flower/garden beds.

If you do decide that you’re not mulching please don’t rake into the street. Leaves by nature are not bright, don’t follow directions,  and will not stay put. Instead of staying in a nice pile they go with the flow of rain and either clog up the street drains leading to street flooding or they get washed into the watershed and causes problems. Too many leaves in our waterways causes algae to bloom, which in turn soaks up oxygen that fish need.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Great article! Don’t forget that shredded leaves make great compost and all you need is a bagger on your mower to grab them off the sidewalk or street.

  2. I just wanted to point out that, at least in my experience in Forest Park Terrace, if you don’t get your leaves into the street, the collection truck will not pick them up. They also won’t pick them up if you get them to a side street. They have to be on the street in front of your house. They skip me every year because I rake an enormous amount of oak leaves (I’m surrounded by them) to the side street. I’m not afraid of hard work but it’s way too much to get all of them to the front. I end up calling the city for a special pick up, or my neighbor will arrange to use them as he gradually dwindles them all down to use for mulching and composting.

  3. Stuffa on said:

    I have been doing this for years and my garden is better off for it! Mother Natures finest mulch turns into what we gardeners call “Black Gold” or dark, nutrient rich humus. …keep in mind that a 3’ tall pile of leaves will flatten out to just a few inches after a good rain or two. :o)
    Also, native wildlife will thank you: many beneficial species use leaf litter as cover during winter months, and ground foraging birds will be grateful for the larder full of tasty treats.
    Scot, that’s odd that you get skipped, as the instructions for leaf pickup state to rake to the curb but not into the street.

  4. Dixon on said:

    I live behind Stratford Hills shopping center. Lots of trees in my yard mean that mulching only goes so far. The rest go in the street. If they go in the ditch, the drain is blocked. And the last time I did that, the dozer they used to scoop the 6ft pile up, gouged and scarred my yard permanently. The “curb” doesn’t cut it , they go in the street.

  5. Stuffa on said:

    You can also bag them.

    From the city website:

    Vacuum Leaf Collection Program Guidelines

    Rake leaves to your property line.
    Do not rake leaves into the street.
    Leaves must be placed out for collection by the start date
    indicated for your route.
    Keep leaf piles less than 2 feet in height.
    Keep leaves away from ditches, pipes, and culverts.
    These items will prevent crews from collecting your piles.

    Please remember, you don’t have to use vacuum service or wait for your scheduled collection to get rid of your leaves. Just put your bagged leaves near the curb, preferably in biodegradable lawn and leaf bags. Here’s why we recommend biodegradable bags.

    They’re more environmentally friendly and can be recycled, right along with the leaves.
    We’ll pick up as many as 25 bags every week all year on your regular trash collection day.
    We’ll pick up as many bags as you put near the curb during your leaf collection cycle.
    Please understand, bad weather can adversely affect our leaf collection schedule. This includes not only rainy weather, but snow as well. We have to put our snow removal equipment on the same vehicles that collect the leaves.

    Keep in mind, the city of Richmond strongly urges that you use bags.

    If you want to dispose of your bagged or loose leaves yourself, you may take them to the following locations.

    However, you must empty the leaves from the bags. We do not accept leaves inside bags at these locations.

    East Richmond Road Convenience Center
    3800 East Richmond Road at Jennie Scher Road Map It
    Hours: 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturdays
    Telephone: (804) 646-4706

    The “Powerline” [closed for the season]
    8600 Huguenot Rd. at NW corner of Chippenham Parkway Map It
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

    Maury Street Landfill
    2900 Maury St. Map It
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

  6. so I saw the leaf collection signs on Parkwood and made sure not to park there. I then raked the leaves from my yard to the curb and waited….and waited…and no leaf collection crew ever came by.
    This happened last year too. Seems like a big waste of time to me.
    I ended up just raking my pile into my neighbor’s yard. :)

    Is there a rescheduled collection date planed?

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