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Leaf Collection

Fall Leaf Collection

City of Milwaukee residents may rake leaves into the street from October 1 through November 15, leaf rake out has been extended to November 22nd in 2020.

It takes about two weeks for leaf collection operations to cycle through the entire City. After the final leaf pick-up cycle, which will begin November 23rd, equipment used for leaf collection is redeployed for the winter season assignments such as snow and ice control.

picture of fall leaf collection with equipment

Residents should rake their leaves into the curb lanes for collection to be composted to make a rich soil amendment. Sanitation Services offers these tips for successful leaf collections:

  • Rake leaves loose into the curb lane. Leave a one foot gap between the leaves and the curb.
    • The 1' gap helps ensure the equipment can collect all of the leaves and protects the equipment from being damaged and helps prevent flooding by allowing storm water to move to the storm drains.
  • Keep piles away from sewer grates, storm drains, and low hanging trees.
  • Include yard debris such as flowers, garden trimmings, and weeds on top of leaf piles.
  • Do not include grass clippings, pumpkins, litter, or bagged material.
  • Do not put brush in the leaf piles. Keep brush separate and located between the curb and sidewalk. Call 286-CITY or request a brush collection online.

No special request for leaf collection is necessary from Oct. 1st – Nov. 15th. Leaf collection operations cycle through the city systematically. Once leaf rake out ends on Nov 15, DPW makes one final collection sweep across the City. To be collected, ensure that leaves have been raked out by Nov 15.

At all other times of the year, leaves must be mulched on the property or taken to a Drop Off Center.

photo of leaves set out properly

Look up when the next leaf collection of your route will start.

It typically takes 3-4 days to complete a leaf collection route, depending on the number of leaves to be collected.

Leaf Mulching

Easier than raking, consider mulching leaves in place. This returns the nutrients right to your soil. Leaves can also be composted in your backyard.

Off-Season Leaf Removal

Leaves may be taken to a Drop Off Center location. Please refer to our Drop-Off Centers for locations and hours of operations. 

What happens to my leaves?

Leaves are taken to the Waste Management compost site where Purple Cow Organics manages the material for 4 - 6 months to create a rich compost. Compost is then sold locally. Compost is a natural fertilizer that returns nutrients to the soil, improves its ability to absorb rain water, and keeps valuable resources out of the landfill.

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