Signs of fall: Time to clean up your yard
Don’t let the fall leaves smother your Champaign-Urbana lawn. Rules for leaf collection, collection dates, and more
Fall is certainly a beautiful season in Champaign-Urbana — picturesque, colorful, transitional.
Fall also means falling leaves. And there’s a lot of ways to deal with that. One is to hope that the leaves will blow into your neighbor’s yard. (Especially on the edges of town, we suggest raking them out of your shrubs and then letting the wind do its work. Um, we heard this from a friend.) Another way is to let the children play in the leaves as much as possible so they scatter everywhere. Or you can shred leaves while mowing and leave them on the lawn to add nutrients to the soil.
Of course, there’s always the old-fashioned way: rake ’em up.
Are you a gardener? Fall leaves are a great source of carbon for your compost pile. Or add them to your garden beds: Especially when shredded, leaves can lighten heavy soil, provide nutrients, and feed the earthworms and microbes, as well as insulating tender plants from winter cold.
Not a gardener? Lucky for you, many municipalities will haul away the leaves — and landscape waste in general — for free, for a few weeks a year in spring and fall. Just buy some of those paper yard waste bags at any hardware or big box store (if your city requires them), and you’re in business.
Important to know: Leaf burning 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 that apply to your address before you light any yard waste on fire.
Fall Municipal Collections
Champaign: Fall Yard Waste Collection will begin on Oct. 9 and continue through Dec. 8. No pickup dates are scheduled during the week of Thanksgiving. Collection is available to all City of Champaign residential properties within city limits at no charge. Residents may participate by placing bagged leaves or bundled branches and twigs at the curb no later than 6 a.m. on their scheduled collection date. On heavier collection days, your pickup may be later than normal or even the next day. Enter your address here to find your zone and schedule.
Urbana: Urbana’s fall leaf collection in 2023 will take place during the following three weeks:
- Week of Oct. 30 – Nov. 3
- Week of Nov. 13 – 17
- Week of Nov. 21 – Dec. 1
Leaves in paper bags — not taped, nor torn or ripped — must be placed directly at the street curb or along the city right-of-way before 6 a.m. on your U-Cycle collection day. Only leaves or non-woody plant material will be collected. Branches, brush and other woody material may be taken to the Urbana Landscape Recycling Center for a fee.
Rantoul: The Village of Rantoul provides scheduled collection of curbside, loose leaves (no bags!) beginning Oct. 16 and continuing through Dec. 15. Separate monthly pickups are scheduled to pick up branches and brush for chipping. Materials should be placed at the curbside no later than 7 a.m. on the Monday morning your area is scheduled for collection. Click on the link for info on where and when the Village of Rantoul will pick up leaves and brush.
Mahomet: Fall leaf collection in Mahomet begins Oct. 16 and continues through Nov. 22. Click the link to see the calendar schedule. There is also a schedule for monthly brush and limb collection — do not mix leaves and brush. Materials must be placed within 3 feet of a curb or street pavement edge no later than 7 a.m. on your scheduled collection day and no sooner than seven days prior to your scheduled collection day. Bagged or containerized materials will not be collected.
St. Joseph: St. Joseph provides leaf vacuuming from Oct. 16 – Dec. 1. Guidelines: rake your leaves within 3 feet of the curb (not in the street or blocking sewers, not in bags) and the Village Public Works Department will come by and vacuum them. Separate brush pickup is available; brush may be placed in paper yard waste bags.
Savoy: The Village of Savoy does not provide yard waste pickup services.
Did you miss your neighborhood’s pickup? Or are you generating a lot of yard waste outside this fall pickup window?
Yard waste materials can 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.