The canopy of color has extended the fall beauty much later into the season than usual, but as trees stubbornly hold onto their bright red and yellow leaves, property owners may not have much time to pick them up when they eventually come down.

Minneapolis will collect leaves, brush and other yard trimmings through the end of next week, and there are no plans to push back the date despite the abundance of leaves still on trees, according to city spokesman Casper Hill.

"The dates for yard waste collection season remain consistent every year and are advertised many months in advance," Hill said.

In St. Paul, residents participating in the citywide garbage program have a bit more time, through Nov. 30.

Those who live in the suburbs could experience a time crunch, too. Randy's Environmental Services, which serves customers in about 90 metro-area cities and townships, said the company plans to pick up yard waste for its customers through the third week of November (through the 19th), which was the original plan.

"I really don't see that changing," said Shannon Weege, customer service representative.

Weather is always a variable that affects when leaves come down, but this year's warm fall has trees holding their leaves exceptionally long, said naturalist Jim Gilbert, who has been a contributing writer to the Minnesota Weatherguide calendar for the past 45 years.

"I don't recall it being this late," he said. "Peak raking is usually the last week of October. I've already raked twice since the last of October."

Temperatures in the Twin Cities in October slipped below freezing only once, to 31 degrees on Oct. 23. High temperatures soared to 70 degrees or higher 13 times. Overall, the month was 6 degrees warmer than average, according to the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

The above-normal temperatures in October pushed back the date for peak colors by a week this year, Gilbert said. Peak color in the Twin Cities occurred Oct. 21.

Last year that occurred on Oct. 8. The average date from 2014 to 2018 was Oct. 14, he said.

"They hung on longer this year," he said.

A sharp cooldown that also will bring rain and a chance for snow showers late this week and into part of the weekend could shake more leaves loose but also make it more difficult for cleanup, said Maggie Reiter, a turf grass educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

"It's easier to do when it's drier," she said. "It's hard to do after rain and snow."

But it is a job that needs to be done, she said. Leaving leaves on the lawn over the winter can bring mold and cause disease, and it creates a habitat that draws mice, she said.

For those who loathe raking, or can't get to it, Reiter suggests using a lawn mower and mulching the leaves.

"It is the easiest thing for you to do," she said. "Chop them into little bits. It's not harmful in any way and won't change the soil chemistry."

Reiter said home composting is another option for late-falling leaves that can't be hauled away, or put them around plants in garden beds, she suggested.

It is illegal to mix yard waste with household garbage. When home pickup stops, residents in Anoka County can bring lawn waste to compost sites in Coon Rapids or Lino Lakes. The sites are open seven days a week through November and on Saturdays from December through March, weather permitting.

Hennepin County does not operate a yard waste drop-off site. Ramsey County operates seven yard waste collection sites.

St. Cloud's compost site is scheduled to close for the season on Nov. 20, with the last weekly yard waste pickup of the year slated for Nov. 22. Public Services Director Tracy Hodel said the city could keep the compost site open longer, weather permitting, if there's a large demand from residents.

In Cottage Grove, the city's composting site at 9600 Glendenning Road, will close Nov. 30. But Carol Marano, office manager for Rumpca Cos., the contractor who runs the compost site, said anybody who comes after Nov. 30 can call 651-459-1556 and she will let them in to make their compost drop.

"Sometimes I run down there for two bags of leaves and sometimes I will run down there for two trucks of leaves," Marano said.

Staff writers Matt McKinney, Erin Adler and Jenny Berg contributed to this report.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768