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How to responsibly dispose of leaves, yard waste in Huntsville

Published on November 23, 2021

As the leaves of yellow, orange, brown and red continue to fall across Huntsville, many residents are tackling the mess with rakes and blowers.

To that end, officials with Huntsville Public Works are asking residents to dispose of leaves and any other yard waste responsibly. Blowing leaves into the road can lead to clogged storm drains, which causes flooding during significant rain events.

“It’s impossible for us to overstate the importance of properly disposing of leaves and yard waste,” said Public Works Director Chris McNeese. “If you’ve ever driven on a flooded residential street, odds are good it’s because of clogged storm drains. If the water has nowhere to go, we have flooding that can damage streets and compromise safety.”

Public Works regularly checks storm drains to ensure they are free of debris, but residents can help, too. Mulching and/or bagging leaves after they fall prevents them from getting into roads and drains.

Yard waste should be bagged and placed curbside for pickup no later than 7 a.m. on collection days. Bags of leaves should not weigh more than 50 pounds or exceed 32 gallons. Limbs should not exceed 5 feet in length and all piles should be placed at least 5 feet from fences, parked cars, mailboxes, vegetation and/or other obstructions.

Going green

Those who dislike raking and bagging leaves may instead prefer to compost them. Mulching the leaves with a lawnmower is good for the environment, lawns and gardens.

Spreading mulch on top of a layer of leaves in a garden or flower bed will cause the leaves to compost and provide essential nutrients to the soil. Leaves can also be added to home compost piles with other yard debris. Turning the pile once a month will help the production of microbes, which aids the development of rich garden soil.

Visit the City of Huntsville’s Curbside Collection Schedule page to learn more about how to safely dispose of yard waste.