MADISON, WI- The City of Madison is excited to kick off the fall season with reminders of all things leaves that every City of Madison resident needs to know, starting with mulching the leaves in lawns.

The City of Madison held a press conference at 9 a.m., Oct. 10, 2023 on the 4000 block of Herrick Lane, Madison, Wis. to share about resources that impact all City of Madison property owners, such as ways to keep connected to leaf pick-up process and times, phosphorus impacts to area waterways and a demonstration on how to mulch into lawns.

City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway kicked off the press event encouraging the community to try mulch mowing this year.

“Mulching your leaves right in place by mowing your leaves into your lawn is a great way to keep the leaves from going into our streets,” Rhodes-Conway said. “Mulching recycles nutrients used by the trees to feed your lawn, helps your soil absorb more rain water and is less work for both you and City employees collecting leaves.”

City of Madison Engineering Division Stormwater Engineer Phil Gaebler said mulching leaves onto your lawn benefits wildlife, too, especially if you have a lot of leaf mulch. To avoid overwhelming your lawn, use the excess leaves in a garden.   

“You can rake some of the mowed leaves and put them in your garden beds,” Gaebler said. “Those nutrients that cause a problem in the lake are actually beneficial to the plants growing in your garden. If you leave some whole leaves in your garden beds as well, they provide a home and an overwintering habitat for insects.”

City of Madison Streets Division Recycling Coordinator / Public Information Officer Bryan Johnson talked about how the leaf collection for City crews has started, and you can use this time to try out the Street’s Division’s new composting guide, too. The new composting guides can be found at any Madison Public Library or on the City’s backyard composting website.

“If you have more than what you can compost or more than you can mulch, you can use the Streets Division’s yard waste collection,” Johnson said.

District 11 Alder Bill Tishler wrapped up the press conference with a reminder of the impacts leaves left in the street can do to our area waterways and why trees are important parts of our community.

“We need to be good stewards of the land, and with the trees come the leaves…” Tishler said. “It’s important to keep the leaves out of our lakes. Take care of our trees, take care of our yards.”

The City of Madison works across agencies to maintain leaves in the City and help residents manage leaves in their own yards. The City of Madison Streets Division is the agency in charge of picking up leaves and yard waste. The City of Madison Engineering Division helps guide the City on leaf collection strategy and water quality impacts. Finally, the City works with its residents to educate the community and maintain leaves in the City of Madison.