The upper Midwest experiences some of the most beautiful and dramatic fall colors in the nation.
But as the seasons change, those leaves must fall, and Minnesota residents are tasked with raking and What are your options for dealing with those fallen leaves? The traditional option is getting the family outside to rake and bag the leaves. Or, turn them into compost and return the nutrients in the leaves to your soil.
Compost the leaves
Ramsey County has advice and tips from the University of Minnesota's Master Gardeners on how to turn autumn leaves into compost. And if you need a compost bin to hold the leaves in, you may qualify to purchase a discounted compost bin through a program in your city. Check at Rethink Recycling's website for a list of city recycling bin sales. In the summer, you should have a nice bin full of compost for your spring planting.
Use the Leaves to Mulch your Lawn
This is probably the easiest option and involves a minimum amount of raking. Push the leaves from your sidewalks or patio onto the lawn. Then grind the fallen leaves with a lawnmower, and leave the chopped up leaves on the lawn. Then nature will take care of them, and the chopped leaves will decompose into natural mulch for your grass.
Rake and Bag the Leaves
For whatever reason, composting or mulching doesn't work for you, and you are planning on raking and bagging those leaves. What can you do with all of those leaves?
The state of Minnesota, and individual cities in Minnesota, have laws regarding what you can and can't do with leaves and other yard waste.
Firstly, it's illegal everywhere to dump or sweep your leaves into the street.
And, plastic bags have been banned for garbage collection and leaf drop off sites. You must use compostable or biodegradable bags, or you may be required to use a re-usable container for the leaves.
And as well as those general rules, the city you live in will have its own rules for what to do with yard waste, including leaves.
And another factor to be aware of: whether you want to have your leaves hauled, or would like to drop them off at a yard waste site, then make sure you don't delay. Most haulers stop yard waste collection in mid to late November, depending on weather. Yard waste collection sites also close for the year in mid to late November.
Leaf Hauling in Minneapolis and Hennepin County
The City of Minneapolis collects leaves and other yard waste as part of the city's regular garbage collection service, on your regular trash collection day. Bag the leaves in biodegradable bags and leave them out with the other trash to be hauled. This service is included in your monthly fee.
Or, residents of Hennepin County can take their leaves to one of the 7 Hennepin County yard waste collection sites in Minneapolis, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Minnestra, and Plymouth. For this option, you can bag the leaves however you want, and then dump them out at the yard waste collection site and take the bags home with you. The service is usually free if you live in Hennepin County and you use the site nearest to your home.
Leaf Hauling in St. Paul and Ramsey County
You have a choice. Call your regular garbage collector, and request that they collect your leaves. Remember to bag the leaves in a biodegradable sack. Almost all garbage collectors will charge for this service.
Or, residents of St. Paul, and other cities in Ramsey County, can take their leaves to one of the seven Ramsey County yard waste collection sites, three of which are in St. Paul. For this option, you can bag the leaves however you want, and then dump them out at the yard waste collection site and take the bags home with you. This service is free for Ramsey County residents.
Leaf Hauling in other Cities in Minnesota
Rules regarding leaves and yard waste vary from city to city. Whether your city collects your trash or if you have hired one of the several trash companies that serve the Twin Cities to do it, all collect yard waste. Some cities and companies include yard waste collection in the standard charge, others charge extra. Some come by with scheduled yard waste collection times, others you'll have to call to arrange collection. Some cities request that you use a re-usable container to hold the leaves, some request that you bag the leaves in biodegradable bags or sacks.