It’s Fall, ya’ll!

Despite the simpleton American term for Autumn (leaves and temperatures fall, so let’s call this time of year “Fall”), these light-jacket weather months are a favorite of many Milwaukeeans. But perhaps a bigger scourge than the looming winter flurries also happens to come from above: I’m talking, of course, of leaves.

Now maybe you don’t have to give any thought to Fall leaves beyond “ooooo look how pretty the colors are!”, but I literally just came inside from 2+ hours of raking the crunchy demon flakes out of my tree-infested yard prior to writing this very article. It’s no picnic.

Luckily, Milwaukee does its citizens a serious solid by coming and picking up their raked leaves and disposing/re-purposing them at no cost. Make sure you follow along if you too need to get rid of the fallen foliage.

To Do

  • Rake your leaves directly into the road. Well, not into traffic; make piles along the curb and resist the urge to jump in.

Leaves raked well. Piled up, no bags, space left next to curb. All photos by Joe Powell for The Squeaky Curd.

  • Make sure to leave 1 foot between the curb and your piles. This allows for a) better drainage towards sewers and b) easier access for the City’s trucks to plow the leaves away.

Leaves raked poorly. No space left next to curb.

Not To Do

  • Do not put leaves in plastic bags. Leave them loose (or in those compostable Home Depot bags).
  • Do not put anything else in the leaf piles, especially pumpkins or other brush.

When Does This All Happen?

  • Leaf collection started on October 1 and traditionally runs through November 15. However, this year (and it seems every year) leaves fell later and so the leaf collection has been extended through November 26.
  • It typically takes 11 days for the whole City to be serviced. Practice some patience.
  • Any significant snowfall will cancel the pickups.

What Happens To My Leaves?

This is the best part: if you choose to not use your own leaves as mulch or compost, somebody else will! The City comes around town with a modified garbage truck and a cool “sweeper” truck that pushes all the leaves into a compacter. For a better idea, check out the video below taken just this year in Milwaukee.

Video from Youtube, uploaded by Nick Thompson of wmautoreach123.

Milwaukee’s DPW will then take the leaves (some 15,000 tons) to Purple Cow Organics, a mulching farm that’ll take 4-6 months and turn all those leaves into fresh, earth-friendly compost for sale locally.

So grab your rake, will those little leaves into the street, and wave goodbye as they leave your life for good, all thanks to our City’s friendly Fall Leaf Collection program.

Hello Autumn my old friend.

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