The spoils of fall’s foliage are hitting Lexington yards and streets.
Vacuum leaf cleanup will begin Nov. 9 for the 90,000 residents who receive the service, with the goal of having all leaf collection done by Dec. 20. Mother Nature will play a big role on when leaf collection starts and when it will be completed, city officials said Tuesday.
Trees need cooler temperatures, shorter days and water before leaves drop. This fall has been particularly warm and dry.
Lexington has stepped up its leaf pickup efforts in recent years by hiring a private contractor to help with leaf collection and employing an interactive map at www.lexingtonky.gov/leaves so Lexington residents know when vacuum leaf clean up will occur.
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The city is divided into four leaf pickup zones. For example, zone A is an area between Richmond and Nicholasville roads. Zone B is between Nicholasville and Harrodsburg roads. Zone C is between Harrodsburg and Bryan Station roads. Zone D is between Bryan Station and Richmond roads.
Certain sections of zone A and certain sections of zone C will be first for leaf collection.
Vacuum leaf pickup will only occur once in each of the four zones, said Rob Allen, of Lexington’s division of streets and roads. Allen updated the Urban County Council’s Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee on Tuesday on the city’s leaf pickup plan.
It’s impossible for the city to predict when vacuum leaf pickup will occur too far in advance. The city will rely on the interactive map, social media, its television channel GTV 3, and the traditional media to let residents know when vacuum leaf pickup will occur, Allen said.
The city had the interactive map last year, but this year the city updated the map to make it easier for people to use, he said.
Only those who get city garbage pickup are eligible for the vacuum leaf pickup. Leaves should be raked into piles between the sidewalk and the curb or close to the street if there is no sidewalk.
Don’t put leaves directly into the street. Leaves can cause traffic problems and clog the city’s storm sewers, city officials said.
“We want people to think of this as supplemental to our other collection efforts,” Allen said.
Councilman Richard Moloney agreed. The vacuum cleanup was never intended to be the primary way for residents to dispose of leaves, he said.
“We want people to use the bags,” Moloney said.
There are other ways to dispose of leaves, Allen said.
The city’s Lenny yard waste bins can be used. Private garbage collection services also have yard disposable bins. Paper yard waste bags are also available at many stores, such as Kroger. Mulching leaves while mowing is another option, city officials said.
Or residents can take leaves to Haley Pike landfill on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The landfill is also open the first Saturday of each month.
The vacuum leaf cleanup costs the city about $300,000 a year.