City Crews Focusing on Leaf Season Pickups

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Crews Focusing on Leaf Season Pickups

Posted: 10/30/2014
October 30, 2014 - The City of Knoxville's annual "Leaf Season" begins Nov. 1, which means Public Service Department crews will be concentrating on systematic citywide leaf collections over the next three months.

Leaf Season Crews already have been collecting leaves during the brush collection cycles in October. But starting next week, the normal two-week brush schedule is being suspended as resources are focused on collecting leaves.

Collecting up to 10,000 tons of leaves before between now and Feb. 1, 2015, is a daunting job. That's why the Public Service Department assigns about 125 employees to the task.

Leaf Season "It's all hands on deck," said Public Service Director David Brace. "We collect about a third of our total brush volume during Leaf Season. We reach most homes twice before the holidays and up to four times before Feb. 1 depending on the tree canopy in the area."

The collection schedule varies: It's affected by the density, age and types of trees in neighborhoods, by weather, by topography and by several other factors. Schedules are adjusted by managers in the field on a weekly basis.

However, Knoxville residents can find out when their leaves will be picked up by accessing the City's website at and clicking on the "Leaf Pickup Schedule" icon on the right side of the page. The up-to-date schedules are done on a weekly basis, dated Monday of the week when City crews will be in those neighborhoods. Further information also is available by calling 311.

The City uses trucks equipped with suction devices to vacuum up leaves, which should be raked into one continuous row within 5 feet of the curb for pickup.

A few very important tips for residents:

Do not rake leaves into the street. Passing cars likely will scatter and crush the leaf pile before it can be vacuumed up by a Public Service crew. Try not to block drainage ditches. Also, please don't mix brush into leaf piles. The City will not pick up mixed piles of leaves, brush or other refuse because the leaf collection equipment is designed to vacuum up leaves and can be damaged by brush.

What happens with the thousands of tons of leaf litter that the City collects? Shamrock Organic Products processes it into mulch and soil, which can be purchased and used in landscaping and gardens to retain moisture, control weeds and replenish nutrients.

"Leaves are a valuable reusable product, and leaf collection is an important service," Brace said. "Fall in East Tennessee is a beautiful season, but it's also a busy season for our Public Service personnel. Leaf collection, holiday lights and snow/ice response all create a unique service period for our crews!

"We take pride in making sure our neighborhoods look great and that the bulk of our City's leaves are picked up before the holidays."