Leaves at varying levels of decay are shown.

Reduce work, improve soil quality, support pollinators, and benefit from beautiful home lawns and gardens with these fall lawn tips courtesy of the City!


This fall, leave your leaves right at home. Here’s how:

Here’s why:

  • Leaving your leaves as mulch/cover on a lawn or garden:
  • Composting the leaves will provide a nutrient-rich soil amendment by next growing season that you can then use on your lawn or garden.

We encourage residents to utilize their curbside composting and leaf vacuum programs, but also recognize the added environmental impact these programs result in with transportation emissions and resources needed to process organic material elsewhere.

Leaving your leaves right at home reduces this environmental impact and results in a whole lot of other environmental benefits for your yards. As a reminder: yard waste is not allowed to go into the trash, per state law.

Compost and mulch

Nourish the shoots, stems, and roots of any plant (including grass!) growing in your yard with the use of compost and wood chip mulch.

When added to soil, compost improves the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil.

Compost can be used as a soil supplement in flower beds, vegetable gardens, lawns, planting a new tree or shrub, and seed starting mixtures.

Participate in the City’s Your Best Lawn program, which uses compost and aeration to improve the health of your lawn and the soil beneath the surface.

When added to landscaping and garden beds, wood chip mulch retains moisture (keeping your soil and plants hydrated), prevents weeds, provides nutrients back to the soil, and assists with stormwater control.

Where to get compost and wood chip mulch:

  • Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave. SW, Iowa City.
    • Small and large batches available.
    • Small batch is self-service - bring containers and shovel; staff can assist with loading large batches (such as truck or trailer loads)
    • Compost is $20/ton ($2 minimum) and wood chip mulch is no cost.
  • East Side Recycling Center, 2401 Scott Blvd. SE, Iowa City
    • Small batch only.
    • Self-service: bring containers and a shovel.
    • Compost and wood chip mulch are each 50 cents/5 gallons. Place money in the green post.
  • Local garden or hardware stores in our area!

Questions? Contact the City’s Superintendent of Resource Management Jennifer Jordan at jejordan@iowa-city.org, or 319-887-6160. 

Date of publication

Tuesday, October 11, 2022