NEWSBRIEF: Raking, and disposing of autumn leaves

Why should you rake your leaves? It’s a simple answer: to protect the environment.

Leaves decompose and restock the soil with nutrients and organic matter. But when the leaves land on the street or sidewalk, the decomposing bits wash down the street and into the storm drain. They go directly into lakes and rivers where the nutrients feed unwanted algae growth. When the algae dies and decomposes, it uses up oxygen that fish and native plants need. It is important to rake up the leaves and keep them out of our streams and lakes. One bag of leaves adds nutrients for about 100 pounds of algae to grow.

Options to dispose of leaves include:

• Use a mulch mower to turn leaves into valuable nutrients. A mulching mower slices grass clippings and leaves several times before depositing them back into the grass where they convert into nutrients and valuable topsoil.

• Compost leaves and mix with other soil.

• Use as mulch to suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture and reduce soil erosion. Layer two to four inches of mulch around perennials to help them live through the winter.

• Drop off leaves at a free county yard waste site. Find locations at or call 651-633-3279.

• Roseville residents can drop leaves at the Leaf Recycling Center on Dale Street south of County Road C. This site will be open through Nov. 21. Only leaves are accepted at the site. Take leaf bags, including compostable bags, with you.

• Have your trash hauler pick up leaves in a separate cart or bag (leaves cannot be combined with trash). Haulers are required to take leaves to a compost facility. They may charge an additional fee.

• Hire a contractor to haul away your leaves. A list of leaf-hauling businesses is available at This list is a representation of some companies in the Twin Cities area that provide lawn services. It is not a recommendation or endorsement. 

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