Guidelines for Proper Leaf Disposal

It’s that time of year where we enjoy the fall colors in Gahanna’s beautiful parks and in our neighborhoods. It’s also a time where residents and businesses can help pitch in to keep our streets clean and prevent flooding by raking up fallen leaves and pine needles. Proper disposal of leaves is through the City’s yard waste collection service that occurs every Monday. Leaves need to be put in a paper bag or plastic bin and placed curbside prior to 6:00am. The weight cannot exceed 50 pounds. Yard waste may also be dropped off in the yard waste dumpsters located behind the Service Complex at 152 Oklahoma Ave. Access to the dumpsters is available Mon-Fri from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

As a reminder, The City of Gahanna does not provide curbside vacuuming of leaves and needles. It is important that leaves and any other yard waste not be raked or blown into the street. This helps to prevent stormwater drains from becoming clogged. It is a violation of City code (Codified Ordinance of the City of Gahanna 941.02) to intentionally rake or blow leaves into the street. Below are best practices to keep in mind when disposing of leaves in order to protect water quality and the local infrastructure:

  • Keep leaves out of the street and away from storm drain inlets. Leaves left in streets get blown by wind and carried by rainwater to the nearest storm drain. They form thick mats that prevent water from flowing into stormwater system which in turn causes street flooding.
  • If you use a professional landscape company to maintain your yard, request that leaves blown off sidewalks or driveways is directed back into the yard and not into the street.
  • If you live along a ravine or stream, do not dump leaves over the edge. The leaf piles will form thick mats that will not decompose over the winter. The vegetation under the leaf piles will then die, leading to erosion of the ravine or streambank.
  • An excess of leaves that enter the stream pose water quality concerns. Bacteria use dissolved oxygen within the water to decompose organic matter. Increased levels of organic matter from leaves result in depleted oxygen levels and consequently kill fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Leaves can be added to a composting bin; however, other high nitrogen ingredients may be needed for optimum results (due to the high carbon to nitrogen ratio).
  • Leaves will decompose faster if they are cut with a mulching lawn mower first.
  • Leaves can also be used as mulch around trees, shrubs, flower bushes and vegetable gardens. They help retard the growth of weeds, retain soil moisture, maintain lower soil temperatures in the summer and protect against temperature fluctuations. Leaves will eventually decompose, adding their nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure.