Trash, Recycling & Compost

Dealing with Leaves and Yard Trimmings

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​​​Dealing with leaves and yard trimmings at home

There are options to deal with leaves that don't involve paper yard bags or compost carts. Consider:

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  • ​Replacing turf grass with a rain garden​ stocked with native plants, which requiree no mowing and little maintenance​. Rain gardens have the added benefit of capturing pollution before it hits our streams and rivers as well as helping replenish groundwater​. Finally, adding a rain garden or rain barrel can help you save money by making you eligible for a stormwater credit
  • ​Use a mulching mower to feed grass clippings and lea​ves back into your lawn. 
  • Create a compost pile. This​ step-by-step guide ​shows you exactly how to do it.​ 
  • Consider creating a dead wood garden​ with limbs and branches you might otherwise discard. Even that old holiday tree you pulled out of your house could be used. These​ gardens not only fertilize the underlying soil, they become homes for beneficial insects, birds and fungi. ​​
Also visit Washtenaw County's composting page to learn more about building compost piles​, dealing with organic material and even becoming a Master Composter​

*The city does not pick up leaves left in piles at the curb or raked into the street. In addition, it is illegal for residents or contractors to move leaves from private property into the street or onto another property. ​

Making better use of compost​ carts

Consider some of these options to help get the most out of your compost cart:​

  • ​Text or call neighbors to inquire if their compost carts are full, and likewise offer to share your extra space with them.
  • Space out yard work so that you can fill your compost cart each week during compost season.​​


A stumpery is a gar​den feature made from parts of dead trees, logs, pieces of bark or tree limbs. The pieces are arranged artistically and plants, typically ferns, mosses and lic​hens are encouraged to grow around or on them. They provide a feature for the garden and a habitat for several types of wildlife.​

Leaf burning: bad for our health and illegal 

Burning leaves produces particulate matter which can be harmful. Michigan and City of Ann Arbor law make it illegal to burn leaves within the city limits.​


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