Fall is a beautiful time here in Western North Carolina. Asheville trees begin to wear their gorgeous autumn colors and, eventually, fall to the ground. Now is also the best time to start pruning back your flowering shrubs and overhanging tree branches to make way for winter. But, what do you do with your clippings and dead leaves?
As of July 1st of this year, the City of Asheville approved changes in the collection of leaves and brush from residential neighborhoods. Leaves and brush are not collected with regular trash pickups. In an effort to lower costs and increase customer satisfaction, brush and leaf collection was changed to twice per month from its previous once a month collection schedule. Also, the City of Asheville will only collect leaves that are bagged and ready for pickup. The City will provide large leaf bags on a first come, first served basis as supplies last. You may also get the larger leaf bags at any Asheville fire station. However, you can use regular trash bags if you would like. Bagged leaves must be set out at curbside by no later than 7am on the Monday morning of the week your area is scheduled for pickup (click here to view the City of Asheville brush and bagged leaf collection schedule).
When you gather together your tree and shrub trimmings for collection, make sure to place them in loose piles at the curb. No other debris can be included in the piles. "Other debris" would include grass clippings, vines and weeds from your garden (which the City of Asheville does not collect). If you have thorny trimmings (from rose bushes, for example), put these in a separate pile from the tree and shrub trimmings. No tree limbs can be longer than 4 feet or larger than 6" around. If you have a lawn service that takes care of these, they are responsible for hauling away the debris, not you or the City.
Bags of leaves should not be tied or be placed in containers with lids. When using a container for leaf collection, please write "leaves" or "brush" in large letters on the outside of the container so City collection personnel will be able to identify it without difficulty. Otherwise, it may be mistaken for regular trash and not picked up at the proper time. It is illegal to burn leaves within the City of Asheville. People caught doing so can be fined anywhere from $250-$500 by the Fire Marshall, may be arrested and can receive additional fines from the City of Asheville as well.
Finally, one of the best possible ways to get rid of your leaves is to compost them for future use on your gardens and lawn. This natural fertilizer works wonders for moisture retention, warding off bugs and cultivating beautiful landscaping. By spring, you'll be good to go!
Leaf collection in Asheville is fairly easy if you follow a few simple rules. Keep our streets and gutters free of debris so that water can drain properly, reducing the risk of flooding streets. Most of all, enjoy the beautiful fall picture that Mother Nature graces us with every year here in Western North Carolina.