The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will begin its annual leaf vacuuming program on Monday, Nov. 6, and will continue collections through December in specified areas. There will be two collections on each collection district street.
Residents can find the collection schedule online by entering a street address.
The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495; I-270; the Rockville City limits; Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads; Northwest Branch Park; and the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County lines.
Before collection begins in a neighborhood, MCDOT will post signs along streets directing residents to the online leaf collection map for collection information. The map and collection information can also be found online on the MCDOT Leaf Collection webpage.
Residents are asked to pile leaves near the street, but off the road. They should avoid placing leaves on road shoulders, curbs, bike lanes and rain gardens as leaves in these areas can disrupt traffic, negatively impact stormwater drainage, hamper snow removal operations and become a fire hazard for automobiles parked over them. Leaf piles in the street also limit the availability of residential parking and, especially when wet, can pose a hazard for cyclists and pedestrians.
“This program helps keep our storm drains clear and is a great example of composting,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Residents can compost on their own simply by mowing leaves and leaving them on their lawn.”
Since 1983, the County has been composting the leaves it collects at a County-operated facility in Dickerson. The compost produces a fertilizer called Leafgro, which is sold in retail stores.
The leaf collection program is restricted to leaves. It is important that no plastics are mixed into the leaves as they are composted and recycled as fertilizer. Plastic contamination can result in unusable compost. Tree branches, coarse garden debris and sticks branches should be placed in containers or tied in bundles no more than four feet long and set out for yard trim recycling pick up.
“Last leafing season, crews collected nearly 114,000 cubic yards of leaves,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “The leaves are mulched and composted at a local facility and sold as a popular fertilizer called Leafgro, which is sold in area hardware stores. Profits generated by these sales go back into the leafing program, reducing the cost to affected residents.”
Residents who miss the two scheduled vacuum collections or who do not live within the leaf vacuuming area can still have their leaves collected by placing them in paper yard trim bags or reusable containers for pick up on their regular recycling and yard trim collection day. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be accepted. Residents also can bring properly bagged leaves to the Shady Grove Transfer Station. Another option is to mow fallen leaves into the yard to allow them to compost naturally.
To determine if a property is within the boundaries of the leaf vacuum collection district or to view the collection schedule, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/leafing or contact the Montgomery County Call Center online or by calling 311 from inside the County, calling 240-777-0311 from outside the County or calling TTY at 301-251-4850. The number for MD Relay is 711 or use the toll free/out of state number 1-800-735-2258.
For more information about the Leaf Collection Program, click here.