Residential Leaf Collection

From November through January, City crews operate leaf vacuum trucks and collect paper leaf bags. The annual curbside leaf collection program is a service provided to all residents receiving City residential refuse and recycling services.

Page updated on Oct 27, 2021 at 3:57 PM

2021 Leaf Collection

The City of Alexandria will begin its annual leaf vacuuming and leaf bag collection program on Monday, November 1, 2021. Alexandria is sectioned into five collection zones (please see map below), each with a specific start date and three separate passes. Residents can access the Residential Leaf Collection Viewer (an interactive map) to look up assigned leaf collection dates based on the home address. Leaf collection is expected to continue into January.

Leaf Collection Zone Map and Schedule

2018 Leaf Map

*If your street is a boundary line, consider the middle of the road the divider.

Collection Dates (first pass): 

  • ZONE 2: November 1
  • ZONE 3: November 5
  • ZONE 4: November 11
  • ZONE 1: November 16
  • ZONE 5 (OLD TOWN):
    • Section 5A: November 1
    • Section 5B: November 5
    • Section 5C: November 11
    • Section 5D: November 16

Three Ways to Recycle Your Leaves

1) Leaf Vacuuming

During leaf season, crews collect leaves raked to the front curb with a vacuum truck. Weather permitting; City crews make three passes through each neighborhood zone. It takes crews several days to complete each pass in each zone.

How to Prepare

  • Rake leaves out the day before your assigned collection dates (check online for a weekly updated schedule or sign up for T&ES' Resource Recovery eNews to get weekly updates by e-mail).
  • Rake leaves into piles at the curb. This enables crews to move more quickly and efficiently.
  • Remove stones, litter, branches or other debris. These items can damage our equipment and hurt workers.
  • Avoid placing leaves in front of storm drains or on water meter covers.
  • Move parked cars off leaf piles.
  • Do not rake leaves into alleys or service roads.

2) Leaf Bag Collection

During collection season, the City provides paper bags for leaves. The bags are available at numerous City facilities and are free of charge. Bags are collected at the front curb on your regular trash collection day.

How to Prepare 

  • Place paper bags at the front curb, on your regular trash collection day. Only use paper bags. Leaves in plastic bags are considered refuse, and will be thrown away as trash at the Covanta Energy-from-Waste plant.
  • Remove dirt, stones, litter and other debris from leaves before placing in bags.

Free City leaf bags are available on a first come, first serve basis, while supplies last. Bags will be available starting October 18, 2021 at the following locations:
Please wear a mask and maintain 6 ft. of physical distance from others while picking up leaf bags.
**Limit 15 bags per residential household, not available for commercial use**

  • City Hall, 301 King Street (Main Lobby)
    Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.  
  • City of Alexandria Self-Serve Shed, Corner of Roth Street and Business Center Drive 
    Available 24/7 
  • Charles Houston Recreation Center, 901 Wythe Street
    Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Sundays, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.    
  • Patrick Henry Recreation Center, 4653 Taney Avenue 
    Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.     
  • Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Avenue
    Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.  

3) Compost Leaves & Yard Waste in Your Backyard

Composting at home is an easy way to take advantage of the environment's natural recycling process, which creates valuable organic supplements, and can be done right in your own backyard.  Learn more about Backyard Composting and view our "How to Compost 101" video.

Leaf Season Information & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When and how are leaves picked up?
From November through January, City crews operate leaf vacuum trucks and collect paper leaf bags throughout the City. Residents who receive City refuse collection services will receive three passes during the season. Residents are responsible for raking their leaves to the curb or placing leaves into paper leaf bags and placing them curbside for collection. Leaf bags are collected on the same day after regular refuse collection.

How do I know when my leaves are scheduled to be vacuumed?
A schedule is mailed to residents and posted online in mid-October. The City is sectioned into five collection zones and Old Town has four collection subzones. Each zone will receive three collection passes. To determine your assigned zone, use the Zone Finder feature or refer to the Leaf Collection Mailer.

If the vacuuming schedule changes, how will I be informed?
If the vacuuming schedule is changed, a new schedule is announced on the City’s website, the Leaf Hotline (703.746.LEAF), by an eNews update, via T&ES Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. The information is also available through Alex311.

Why does Zone 5 (Old Town) have subzones?
Zone 5 (Old Town) has been divided into four subzones to make its service more consistent with the rest of the City. The leaf collection program delivers three passes for each zone. This was not the case for Zone 5 in the past. With the introduction of subzones, residents of Zone 5 will have scheduled dates for each of their three passes.

Where are leaf crews, why aren't they picking up my leaves?
Sometimes bad weather and equipment problems cause delays. Crews may also take several days to complete leaf pickup in a single zone -- you may not see crews on the first day of collection in your zone.

Where do I rake or take my leaves?
Leaves should be raked to the curb or placed in paper leaf bags for collection. Avoid gutters and storm drains, and do not rake leaves into alleys or service roads.

If I am unable to rake the leaves from my yard, will City staff rake them for me?
Residents are responsible for raking leaves to the curb or placing them curbside in paper bags. Commercial landscaping companies are widely available to rake leaves for a fee. The City does not arrange for such services or endorse any particular service provider.

When will my leaf bags be collected?
Leaf bags are collected the same day as your refuse and recycling. For instance, if trash is collected Monday, leaf bags will be collected on Monday, too.

Why were my leaves not collected, if they were put in a plastic bag at the curb?
Leaves in plastic bags are considered refuse, collected with normal trash pickup, and disposed of at the Covanta Waste to Energy plant. Plastic bags are unable to be processed into mulch, and therefore are considered trash. Please recycle by putting your leaves into paper bags, so they can be recycled into mulch.

I am having an event and I need my leaves picked up before it takes place?
Unfortunately, due to staffing constraints, there is no special leaf pick-up service that can be scheduled in advance. If you have leaves you would like collected before the next leaf collection pass throughout your neighborhood, please put them in leaf bags for collection on your normal refuse collection day. Leaf bags are available for free at designated City facilities.

What day will my leaves be vacuumed?
We cannot give you an exact date for leaf vacuuming on your street. Inclement weather, as well as staffing and equipment constraints, may cause delays.

I want my leaves picked up today, why can't I schedule a pickup?
Unfortunately, the City does not offer special pickup services. Please check your collection date in your zone.

I saw crews in my neighborhood, but they did not get my leaves or they went to the other side of the street and did not do my side. Why?
Crews often complete one side of a street and then return for the other side. There is also a chance that crews may be emptying a truck, and will come back to finish the route.

It's snowing and raining, will crews collect during inclement weather?
Weather affects the collection schedule. If the weather is bad, crews will not be able to collect leaves, and will need to reschedule for that day. Check online for a weekly updated schedule or sign up for T&ES Resource Recovery eNews to get weekly updates by e-mail.

I raked my leaves out to the curb too late, will they come back to get them?
If crews have already been through your neighborhood zone, then consider checking for the next pass in your zone or placing leaves in paper bags for collection after your normal refuse collection day. 

What happens to my leaves once they are picked up?
Leaves are ground into mulch and available to residents in the spring.

Why do I see leaf signs posted in my neighborhood?
This is to better assist residents to know when their passes are coming.

How can I find the most up-to-date information about the City's leaf program schedule, or additional information?