Asheville’s leaf season is upon us and there is a change this year


Because of a dry spring and summer, Asheville should see a spectacular fall leaf season, according to Western Carolina University’s autumnal season prognosticator Kathy Mathews.

Peak color could come to the City of Asheville by the middle of October this year. And as the trees put on their fall fireworks show, they’ll begin to shed those leaves.

Soon fall leaves will be littering our yards. So now is the time to plan for how to deal with those fallen leaves.

Whether you plan to mulch, compost or rake and remove may depend on the size of your yard and the number of trees on or around your property.


City leaf collection

The City collects residential leaves and brush from bags or bins placed on the curb. Note that bags can be paper, not just plastic. Bins may be used if they are clearly labeled “leaves” or “brush.” Bags need to be left open. Do not tie them off. City workers will have to rip the bags open to remove the leaves if bags are tied shut. Sanitation workers remove the leaves from the bags and leave the bags on the curb to be reused.

For the past four years, the City has supplied citizens with leaf bags, which were available at Asheville Fire stations. That has been discontinued for this year. The initiative was an introductory measure used as a transition once leaf vacuum trucks were discontinued in 2011.

This year, residents will need to supply their own bags or bins, though they can be used over and over. Paper and plastic bags are available for purchase at most home improvement stores, grocery and department stores. And people can forgo buying bags at all by using clearly labeled bins instead.

“We will do our best to leave bags in a way that minimizes them being blown away by wind or traffic,” said Public Works Director Greg Shuler.

Note these bags can also be recycled at the end of the season. The City accepts paper bags in its recycle bins. Plastic bags can be recycled at many grocery stores and some home improvement stores.


Other methods of disposal

Most leaves can be composted but it’s better if they are made smaller first by grinding or mulching. Other amendments will need to be added too, as leaves on their own won’t make compost. You may get a kick start on backyard leaf composting by using a mulching mower with a vacuum attachment.

Others prefer to mulch leaves with a mower and leave them on a lawn to provide nutrients to the soil. Mulching leaves into the lawn has no detrimental effect on turf health and can save on the raking. In fact, mulching leaves can improve soil condition, reduce moisture evaporation and minimize weed competition.

Finally, there are private contractors who will remove leaves for residents.

City residents are reminded that it is illegal to burn brush and leaves within the city limits.


Tips for effective pickup

  • Place brush and bagged leaves on the curb – not in the street or on sidewalks – by 7 a.m. on the Monday of your collection week.
  • Place leaves, pine needles, pine cones, twigs and other small yard waste in open bags or containers marked as “brush” or “leaves.”
  • Cut brush to 4 foot in length and 6 inches in diameter.
  • The following items will not be collected: stumps, pained or treated wood, grass clippings, vines and garden waste.

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