The Public Services Forestry Division is responsible for maintaining City trees (a tree located in the City's right of way, in a City Park, or on City owned property). The City's right of way area is normally the grassy area between a sidewalk and the street or, on the streets that have a boulevard, in the middle of the street. Some of the issues addressed by Kalamazoo's Forestry Division include broken or hanging limbs, fallen limbs, dead or dying trees, trimming near streets and sidewalks, and planting new trees throughout the city. You can report an issue related to city trees online here.
Brush and leaves
The City of Kalamazoo offers an April Spring Clean Up for most yard waste, a monthly brush collection service between the months of May and October, and a scheduled fall leaf collection which typically begins in late October. Currently, we are not able to offer any additional yard waste removal services. If you are looking to dispose of grass clippings or other yard waste, you must contact a private vendor.
Free firewood, woodchips, and compost are available to City residents throughout the summer months from our compost facility at 2045 East Michigan Avenue (while supplies last). All materials are located on the east side of the drive, outside of the gate. The facility is just southeast of Schippers Lane.
Annual holiday tree drop off
Real holiday trees are biodegradable and easily recyclable. After the holiday season, residents can drop off their real holiday trees at the Bank Street Market parking lot (located at 1204 Bank Street) through January 31. Please be sure to remove all ornaments and other decorations.
Fall leaf collection
Every fall, the City of Kalamazoo collects leaves placed out on the curb twice per season. The collection typically begins in late October and continues into December. Leaves need to be out by 7 a.m. on the Monday for your designated area.
Leaves must be separated from brush (branches and twigs) as anything other than leaves will not be taken. Please avoid placing leaves near mailboxes, utility poles, landscaped areas, or over or directly adjacent to storm sewer drains. If you notice a blocked drain, please take a moment to clear any obstructions. This helps ensure the stormwater system operates efficiently and avoides unnecessary maintenance.
Please keep bags weighing 50 lbs or less and do not use plastic bags,
Each section of the City will have two pick-up dates scheduled, however depending on the weather, the second pick-up may not occur. If your leaves are not taken, please store them until the following April for collection during the April Spring Clean Up, or take them to a private drop-off site.
Please do not report missed collections until the crews have made a complete sweep through your section. This best utilizes crew’s time and efforts, and ensures the most productivity.
Have you heard of “Japanese knotweed”? Regionally it is also known as “Michigan Bamboo” or even just “bamboo”. Japanese Knotweed is an invasive species of concrete-busting plant that can cause damage to both city infrastructure and natural environments. It is very easy to spread and grows above and under ground at an exponential rate. Control is extremely difficult and expensive once the plant is established, so early detection and prevention of spread are the best weapons at this time. Cities all over the world, especially in the United Kingdom, are starting to become aware of this threat and take action. In 2005 the State of Michigan declared it “illegal to possess or cause to grow” (see below for more on legal designation).
Japanese Knotweed is a problem in Kalamazoo and elsewhere because it can cause structural damage to buildings and paved structures, it spreads easily via rhizomes and cut stems or crowns, it out-competes native flora & harms biological diversity, and it is difficult and expensive to control or eradicate. Pure Japanese Knotweed seeds are sterile. This plant is a female that makes copies of itself by “vegetative reproduction,” meaning pieces of plant or rhizome break off and begin to grow where they come to rest. This plant material can be transported to a new location by water, moving soil, or dumping/leaving cut stems on the ground. If Giant Knotweed is growing near Japanese Knotweed, they can hybridize creating Bohemian Knotweed which comes with all the same problems as its parents, but with the added problem of having fertile seed. Giant Knotweed should be dealt with first in these cases, if possible.
If you have identified and positively confirmed Japanese Knotweed on your property, do not ignore it. Don’t try to cut it down, dig it out, or poison it without consulting an expert as these actions stimulate growth, making the problem worse. If you must cut the canes for access, bag all material and dispose of in regular trash. DO NOT compost or send to Green Waste.
It is not illegal to have Japanese Knotweed on your land, and you do not need to notify anyone about Japanese Knotweed on your land. You are not obliged to remove or treat Japanese Knotweed, but you must not:
- allow Japanese Knotweed to spread onto adjacent land (the owner of that land could take legal action against you)
- plant or encourage the spread of Japanese Knotweed outside of your property. This can include moving contaminated soil from one place to another or incorrectly handling and transporting contaminated material and plant cuttings
If you think someone has Japanese Knotweed on their property, make friendly contact with them to see if they are aware of it. Direct them to this webpage and the resources listed. Please be understanding in that this plant is extremely hard to control and takes years of effort to achieve. A property owner may be taking steps to control it already without much visual success. Ultimately this is going to be a problem solved as a community, and may require several neighbors pooling resources and agreeing together to treat an infestation, as Japanese Knotweed doesn’t understand fencelines.
If you believe Japanese Knotweed is growing on City property, please report it here. We are working with experts from several state and local organizations to develop treatment plans for our properties. Treatments are site specific and shouldn’t be replicated without an expert opinion.
If you believe that Japanese Knotweed is growing on land owned, managed and maintained by another entity (this includes railway tracks and property both used and disused) then you can it report directly to that specific property owner.
To combat Japanese Knotweed, the City of Kalamazoo has public education and outreach to reduce its spread along with other invasive plants. Identified locations are reported to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) to help experts determine the extent of infestations and prioritize treatment sites. The City of Kalamazoo also collaborates with other local governments and environmental organizations to develop coordinated control programs in our region.
Additional information on Japanese Knotweed, control programs, visual examples, and help with identification is available here from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.