Fall is when our trees become giant litterbugs.
From city of Richmond Press Release:
“Public Works will vacuum leaves throughout all Richmond neighborhoods beginning Nov. 30 through Feb. 5,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “The schedule we are issuing allows us to serve the entire city, and to deliver services in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”
In previous years, Public Works conducted two vacuum collection cycles that often lasted as long as 22 weeks. Following budget reductions approved earlier this year, City officials initially were faced with either eliminating vacuum leaf collections in many neighborhoods, or seeking additional funding. Mayor Jones asked that an alternative be identified that would maintain leaf collection services for the entire City, while doing so more efficiently.
“I’m pleased that we’ve found a way to ensure leaves are vacuumed from all of Richmond’s neighborhoods,” stated 4th District City Councilwoman Kathy Graziano. “This is a creative solution to continue delivering services despite reductions to the public works budget.”
The Department of Public Works reminds residents to rake leaves to the property line that is adjacent to the street prior to their scheduled vacuum collection date. Leaves and other debris should never be raked or placed into the street or culvert. Dirt, rocks, metal or branches should be removed from leaf piles, as this will prevent City crews from collecting the piles.
Residents who bag leaves should use biodegradable lawn or leaf bags, as they can be recycled with the leaves. During a neighborhood’s vacuum collection dates, City crews will pick up an unlimited number of bagged leaves per household. At other times and on a continuous basis, up to 25 bags of leaves will be picked up on the same days as trash collection.
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.