Leaf Collection Schedule Released

photo(7), originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

From a Press Release:

” “We expect to collect up to 10,000 tons of leaves, to be turned into compost, an organic treasure for District gardeners,” said Director Howland. “Compost will be available to individuals, community groups and gardening clubs between March and October next year.”

Residents should place leaf piles on curbside space, rather than in the street or in storm drains. Piles should contain leaves only. Tree limbs, bricks, dirt, rocks, or other items can damage leaf collection equipment. Leaves placed in the street reduce on-street parking and can create a fire hazard. Residents can also bag leaves, instead of piling them, for collection by DPW trash trucks. Because plastic bags can damage equipment, DPW requests that paper rather than plastic bags are used. Residents with alley trash collection may place their bagged leaves next to their trash container for collection with the trash, as truck capacity allows. Bagged leaves will not be composted.

Every street in the District will have at least two collections during the fall. Snow and ice storms can cause changes to the leaf collection schedule. DPW’s leaf collection schedule, including the date when each street is scheduled for leaf collection, will be mailed to each household that uses DPW trash and recycling services. The brochure also provides detailed instructions on how residents should prepare their leaves for collection. This information can also be found on DPW’s Web site at www.dpw.dc.gov.”

9 Comment

  • Wow! DC plans on collecting “up to 10,000 tons” of leaves. That’s 35 pounds of leaves for every man, woman and child in DC. That’s also 1.6 ounces for every single square yard of land in DC, or 508 pounds per acre. Seems a little high.

  • I can believe it. I harvest something like 12 bags of leaves from my 8000 sq ft lot. They’ve gotta be about 25 pounds each. I only have two trees in my yard.

  • It seems like trees put out huge amounts of leaves and drop them but the soil under them stays the same.

    Does removing leaves mean gradually losing the property that contains the roots of the trees sending up and dropping the leaves that are removed?

    Any tree or soil scientists out there who can assuage my fears that leaf removal is gradually taking away the land under my house?

  • Andy:

    If you’re concerned or a purist that wants to return to the soil what came from it, you can set up your compost bin in your own back yard quite easily. It’s an excellent seasonal lesson for kids.

    The resulting compost is very rich and the best thing you can spread around your trees, garden, and ornamentals. Many people still do, but not enough I suppose.

    I’ve never approved of this silly huge enterprise of central leaf collection and have long argued against it. Over the years, millions of our tax dollars have been spent on this silly annual ritual designed by our central planners who claim to know better.

    Modern urban life has become far too automated. There’s no longer anyone advocating an alternative and it just isn’t conducive to today’s fast paced city life. Sadly, far too many of our young people are more attached to electronics and soft key board keys like the one I’m typing on now, than the grit and thorns of nature and cultivating something outside their windows.

    To help answer your question, it take 100 years of falling leaves to produce less than one inch of top soil.

  • Anonymous (above) speaks truth. Using Skeletor’s data (300 pounds of leaves removed from an 8,000 sq ft lot), if that 300-pound mass were entirely transmuted to dirt, it would only cover Skeletor’s lot with a layer 4 mils thick (0.004 inches).

    [Thanks to Google for calculating “(12 * 25 pounds) / 8000 ft^2 / (2 grams/cm^3) in mils” for me. ‘Cause there’s no way I would have gotten all those unit conversions right]

  • Thanks! Some geniuses read this blog!

  • @Anonymous 7:18 – be of good cheer, for in the ten years I’ve lived here, the leaf collection folks have only taken my leaves four times. I’ve had the leaves rot under a pile of snow awaiting pickup on at least 3 occasions. The gleaming machine of progress isn’t going to hermetically seal our lives off from nature anytime soon – at least in the District of Columbia. And between acorn and pecan shell debris, leaf chaff and grass clippings, I don’t think the ground has any want for fresh topsoil.

    Andy, I’m guessing most tree growth is from carbon fixing out of the atmosphere. Sorta cool when you think about it.

  • It is so sad that our cities encourage the wasteful practice of carting away (with the aid of petroleum products) this wonderful resource for our soils. My neighbor thinks he’s doing me a favor of raking up the leaves in front of my house. He doesn’t understand that it is fall, and my aesthetic says that the look of leaves on the ground is part of the season. And the tree has kindly stored sugars and starches made from its unique capability to harness the power of the sun, and combine it with water and minerals from the soil. A forest is sustainable (meaning it needs no additional ingredients from us to continue to thrive). When we remove the leaves, we deprive our gardens of the ability to sustain themselves.

    Leave the leaves–if you must rake them from turf, chop them up and return them to your garden beds, or put them in a pile until they are slightly decomposed and return them to your garden beds in the spring. They make a wonderful, sustainable, attractive mulch, and an excellent alternative to “store-bought” hardwood mulch. Longwood Gardens uses its leaves as mulch–don’t know a higher standard than that.

  • You have to make like Amelia Bedelia and un-rake your lawn.

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