Last night walking home, I encountered my first leaf-based obstacle of the season: a sidewalk on Calvert Street NW covered with fallen leaves. While it’s certainly not as troublesome as a sidewalk covered with snow, wet leaves on sidewalks can be hazardous if you’re not careful, especially on hills.

Next week, the city will start its massive leaf-collection efforts and wants everyone to get their leaves ready.

From a Department of Public Works advisory:

Leaf collection is our most labor-intensive program. For two and a half months, DPW crews work six days a week, including Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day, across the District. Each neighborhood is given two, two-week collection cycles. Please check the leaf collection brochure, which was mailed to households receiving DPW trash/recycling collection services, or go online to learn your collection weeks.”

The program works most effectively when residents rake their leaves into the treebox spaces the weekend before the beginning of their neighborhood’s collection cycles. The crews move fairly quickly, especially in the opening weeks because there are fewer leaves. To make sure your leaves are collected, please rake them into the treebox space or bag them the weekend before the collection cycle begins.

DPW asks not to block storm drains and only use paper bags if bagging leaves. “Plastic bags will damage the equipment,” according to DPW. (Yes, the leaf game has a lot of rules.)