• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
Brush Up on Leaf Season Starting Nov. 1 
As the fall season rolls in, so do the leaves from the trees. Pretty soon, our streets and yards will be littered with splashes of red, orange, and yellow. With this comes the annual question, “How should I deal with all of these leaves?” If you are new to Knoxville or just need a refresher, here are your options for getting rid of your leaves, if you so choose! 
Residents within the City limits of Knoxville who receive City trash services are eligible for the curbside leaf collection service beginning Nov. 1. Between November and February, Public Service Department crews will comb the streets and vacuum up any unwanted leaf piles. All you have to do is get them to the curbside! We advise that residents should rake or blow leaves toward the edges of the street while avoiding blocking the road, sidewalk, and mail service areas. It is important to note that leaves should be placed loose on the curb; bagged leaves will not be collected. 

We are in the last two weeks of dedicated brush collection, and the equipment used to collect large limbs and trash in the spring, summer, and fall will be replaced with large vacuums to suck up leaves during the fall and into winter. Residents can expect leaf collection four times throughout the winter, or about every four weeks, depending on several factors. Some years the leaves all drop within a short timeframe, and other years they drop continuously through the winter. Weather can also impact collection. Wet, sticky leaves are harder to collect quickly than dry leaves; icy conditions, shortened daylight hours and fog impact the crews ability to work safely. Therefore, please understand that the collection schedule can be delayed due to uncontrollable circumstances, but your leaves will get picked up. 
If you are not eligible for leaf collection, prefer not to haul your leaves to the street, or have a backyard composter, there are a couple alternative uses for your fallen leaves: 

It can actually be healthier for your lawn -- and better for the environment in general -- to leave leaves on the ground to decompose naturally. Leaves are rich in nutrients like carbon and nitrogen, so leaving them allows those nutrients to return to the soil and promote stronger growth, essentially providing free fertilizer! Leaf litter not only suppresses unwanted plants and weeds but also provides a vital habitat for insects, resulting in higher biodiversity. Removing leaves indirectly leads to fewer butterflies and birds come springtime.

Even so, some leaf maintenance might still be recommended depending on yard size and the density of leaf litter. For the best results, chopping leaves up with a lawn mower or thinning them out with a rake will keep them from suffocating your lawn and will speed up the decomposition process. 

Alternatively, leaves are a great addition to a backyard compost pile. Leaves and other “brown” materials should make up about 75 percent of the compost composition, layered with the 25 percent “green” material, such as food waste. This ratio keeps the nutrients optimal for a healthy compost, which can enrich the soil in your yard or vegetable garden.

Where do all the leaves go?

All of the leaves, brush, and other yard waste collected by the City of Knoxville Public Service crews are taken to Living Earth. Living Earth is Knoxville’s largest recycler of yard waste like tree limbs, leaves, and even wood chips, all of which are repurposed into mulch, compost, and other soil products.  

What about other yard waste?

The rest of the year, from March to the end of October, the City of Knoxville Public Service Crews collect residential brush piles. Unlike the leaf pickup schedule, brush collection crews will visit every two weeks starting in March. As long as the brush pile is set out at the start of that collection week, it will be picked up. It is very important that brush piles are properly placed on the curb, are easily accessible to the truck’s knuckle boom, and are not blocking things like driveways, roads, mailboxes, utility poles and vehicles.

Visit knoxvilletn.gov/brushpickup to review all guidelines and to check your pickup schedule. As the end of October is quickly approaching, be sure to set out the last of your brush before leaf season gets going!

Posted by ptravis On 19 October, 2021 at 12:07 PM