By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 01, 2021 at 2:29 PM

As of Friday, Oct. 1 it's time to rake your leaves into the street for pickup by the Milwaukee Department of Public Works.

The DPW will begin collecting piles on Oct. 18 and will continue through November, unless the seasonal leaf drop is delayed, as has been the case in recent years, at least in my neighborhood.

(UPDATE: DPW says you can rake leaves for pickup into a pile in the street through the end of day, Nov. 21.)

This year, a few maples started to drop leaves this week but most other trees still seem to be hanging on tightly to theirs.

If that happens, DPW will extend the deadline.

Remember when you make your leaf piles, leave about a foot between them and the curb so rainwater can drain toward the sewer basins.

The gap also helps machinery collect the leaves without damage to equipment and curbs.

Please remember to clear leaves from those catch basins, too, or they'll clog and stormwater will back up onto the streets.

You can include flowers, garden trimmings, weeds and other similar yard waste in piles for pickup, but please make a separate pile for these things rather than mixing them with the leaves. Please do not put pumpkins, grass clippings or anything in bags.

Once the collection period ends, you'll have to take leaves and yard waste to the city's drop off centers.

You know what's even better than raking your leaves into piles? Using your lawnmower to mulch them on the grass. The sliced and diced leaves make great fertilizer for your lawn.

You can also keep them in your compost bin (unless your neighborhood, like mine, has a rat problem, in which case you shouldn't compost anything or you're providing a food source for the critters; my compost bin went away when I found a nest in it).

Wondering what happens to your leaves after pickup? Wonder no more:

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.