ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — It’s that time of year again. Short days, long nights and frost advisories mean it’s only a matter of time before the leaves begin to drop in droves.

Though burning leaves is an option in some areas, larger cities like Rockford prohibit the practice. So, what is the proper way to dispose of leaves in the area?

Rockford residents can dispose of residential yard waste on the same day as the regularly scheduled garbage collection, according to the City of Rockford’s website. However, there are a few rules to follow in order for the city to collect the waste.

“Yard waste material must be placed in compostable paper bags or in 32 gallon or smaller refuse cans that have been marked with a large “X” that is plainly visible from the street,” according to the city website.

“Twigs, branches and other types of large brush that cannot fit into either of these containers must be placed in bundles, no more than 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter. Branches and limbs exceeding 4 inches in diameter will not be accepted. Bundles should be tied with string or twine, not metal.”

“Additional restrictions to yard waste collection include mulch, tree stumps, roots balls or other vegetation mixed with excessive amounts of soil. No bag, can or bundle can weigh more than 50 pounds when loaded. Yard waste cannot be mixed with regular garbage nor placed in plastic bags for pickup. “

Loves Park residents also cannot burn their leaves. However, the process for collection is easier than Rockford’s.

“Leaf vacuuming is a service provided by the City during the fall season. Simply rake your leaves to the edge of your front lawn (NOT into the street) and they will be picked up as soon as possible. Leaf vacuuming continues throughout the fall until snow begins,” according to Loves Park’s website.

Belvidere provides a similar service, according to their website. In 2022, the city’s leaf collection program began on October 31. Only leaves placed “on the terrace, at the curb or along the edge of pavement for non-curbed streets” will be collected. Machesney Park also offers leaf vacuuming services.

Cherry Valley, Roscoe and Rockton all require yard waste to be placed in proper containers (paper bags or marked reusable containers) for pickup.