Time to get your garden ready to grow
Don’t let last year’s yard waste smother your Champaign-Urbana lawn and garden beds — here are rules for yard waste collection, dates, and more
Do you compost at your house? Yard waste is a great source of carbon for your compost pile.
Luckily 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 store, if your city requires them for collection, 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. 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 2023, 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 10, and Monday, May 8.
- All residences in the Blue Zone should put materials out by 6 a.m. on Monday, April 17 and Monday, May 15.
To find your collection zone, visit Champaign’s Yard Waste Collection Map and enter your address. Collection is available to all residential properties within the city limits. 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 2023 Leaf Collection will occur for ONE WEEK ONLY: April 17-21. Leaves must be placed in paper lawn and garden bags at the street curb the night before 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 scheduled Spring 2023 collection of curbside, loose leaves the week of March 20-24. Separate monthly pickups — starting the week of April 3-6 — are scheduled to pick up branches and brush for chipping. These collections happen only on public streets. Click on the link for info on the complete schedule and guidelines.
Mahomet Landscape Waste Collection: Springtime 2023 loose leaf, limb, and brush collection (do not mix leaves with limbs/brush) begins April 3 and continues through April 14. Click the link to see the schedule for different areas of town. Monthly limb and brush collection occurs for a week each in June and August before fall collection begins in October.
St. Joseph Spring Brush/Limb/Yard Waste Pickup: 2023 yard waste pickup, including brush and tree limbs, is available the first full week of each month, starting April 4. Material may be placed in paper yard waste bags. No illegal dumping at village burn site.
Landscape Recycling Center
Yard waste materials can be taken to the Landscape Recycling Center year round (1210 E. University Ave., Urbana). 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 small fee for 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.