Signs of Spring: Time to Get Your Garden Ready to Grow
Don’t let last year’s yard waste smother your Champaign-Urbana lawn and garden beds: rules for yard waste collection, collection dates, and more
Do you compost at your house? Yard waste is a great source of carbon for your compost pile.
Lucky for the rest of us, many municipalities will haul away leaves, branches, and general landscape waste for FREE, for a few weeks a year in spring (and fall). Just buy some of those brown paper yard waste bags at any garden/hardware/big box store, and you’re in business.
Early spring — before branches start to bud and leaf out — is a great time to prune shrubs and small trees. Without the leaves, you can clearly see the branch structure, as well as seeing the different color of dead or damaged branches.
When it comes to the rest of your yard, however, experts advise a little bit of patience when it comes to clearing away all the debris of last year’s growth. Many beneficial pollinators, like bees and butterflies, ride out the winter in dead plant material. To give them time to emerge, wait until temperatures are consistently at or above 50 degrees F. And wait on digging until the ground has had time to dry out, so you don’t do unnecessary damage to the soil structure.
Important to know: burning of leaves and other yard waste is prohibited in the cities of Champaign and Urbana, as well as within 1,000 feet of these city boundaries in Champaign County. However, there are unincorporated areas of Champaign and Urbana that do allow leaf burning, as well as Savoy and other communities. Check on the rules for your address before you light any yard waste on fire.
Spring Municipal Collections
Champaign Spring Yard Waste Collection: For 2021, the Orange Zone and Blue Zone will each have one collection in April and one collection in May.
- All residences in the Orange Zone should put materials out by 6 a.m. on Monday, April 12 and Monday, May 10, 2021.
- All residences in the Blue Zone should put materials out by 6 a.m. on Monday, April 19, and Monday, May 17, 2021.
This collection is available to all residential properties within the Champaign city limits. Find out which day you are supposed to put out your bagged landscape waste (leaves and brush/branches) via the map and zone schedule. City crews will begin picking up materials on Monday of the scheduled week and work through the zone on consecutive days until all materials are collected.
Urbana Spring Leaf Collection: Spring 2021 Leaf Collection will occur for ONE WEEK ONLY: April 19 – 23. Please set bagged leaves at the street curb before 6:00 a.m. on your U-Cycle collection day. Only leaves and non-woody plant material will be collected.
Rantoul Spring Leaf and Brush Collection: The Village of Rantoul provides scheduled collection of curbside, loose leaves the week of March 22-26, 2021. Separate monthly pickups — starting the first week in April — are scheduled to pick up branches and brush for chipping. Click on the link for info on the complete schedule and guidelines.
Mahomet Landscape Waste Collection: Springtime leaf, limb, and brush collection begins April 5, 2021 and continues through April 16. Click the link to see the calendar schedule. Monthly brush and limb collection occurs for a week each in June and August.
St. Joseph Spring Bruch/Limb/Yard Waste Pickup: Yard waste pickup, including brush and tree limbs, is available the first full week of each month, starting April 5, 2021. Material may be placed in paper yard waste bags. No illegal dumping at village burn site.
Yard waste materials can also be taken to the Landscape Recycling Center year round (1210 E. University Ave. in Urbana, (217) 344-5323). The Landscape Recycling Center is a yard waste reclamation site operated through a cooperative agreement between the cities of Champaign and Urbana. There is a fee for all dropped off material.
Best kept secret: Did you know that the Landscape Recycling Center sells its recycled products, such as lawn and garden composts, topsoil, and mulches? And that you can score other materials — such as bulk wood — for FREE? Material is available via pickup and delivery.
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