From Oct. 14 to Dec. 6, our public service crews will collect more than a half million pounds of leaves throughout New Albany.

Crews will pass every New Albany home at least five times this leaf season and deliver leaves raked to the curb to a yard waste processing facility to be converted to organic compost.

If raking leaves to the curb for disposal, please remember these important points:

* Make sure your raked leaves are to the curb by 7 a.m. on collection Monday.

* Rake leaves to the curb, but not into the street.

* Do not park on your street during collection week until after leaves have been collected.

* Please keep leaves out of storm water sewers and stream banks.

* Do not co-mingle leaves with grass clippings, branches or other yard waste. These items are very tough on our machinery and often lead to mechanical breakdowns.

If a resident is hiring a contractor to coordinate leaf collection, please make sure the contractor follows the community standards above and either rakes leaves to the curb in front of respective home or takes the leaves for disposal.

It does not happen often, but sometimes contractors rake leaves to shared common areas instead of in front of the designated residence, and the city does not collect leaves in shared public areas.

The last day to rake leaves to the curb is Dec. 1. If leaves are not raked to the curb by 7 a.m.Dec. 2, the public service department cannot guarantee they will be collected.

Alternative leaf disposal options include:

* Bagging leaves and leaving them for Rumpke's Thursday curbside yard waste collection;

* Dropping off leaves to the nearest yard waste drop-off facility (Kurtz Brothers, 6055 Westerville Road, 614-882-0200);

* Mulching leaves back into your yard or applying shredded leaves to gardens and tree beds.

Mulched leaves, which should be about the size of a dime when properly mulched, are high in nutrients for your yard and natural bed areas, and they also help support wildlife ranging from turtles and toads to birds, mammals and even butterflies.

Fall tree care

If placing shredded leaves around mulched tree beds, please remember that the total mulch (including the shredded leaves) should never exceed 4 inches in depth.

Fall is also a great time to have trees pruned by a certified arborist or plant new trees. Just make sure to follow any existing home owners association tree guidelines for your neighborhood before purchasing any new trees.

Also remember that young or stressed trees will greatly benefit from extra water until the ground freezes.

Enjoy the beautiful colors this season, and let's all keep New Albany beautiful.

If you have any other leaf collection or tree maintenance questions, don't hesitate to contact New Albany's Public Service Department at 614-855-0076; or<>.

Mark Nemec is New Albany's public-service director.