Colorful foliage is nature's street art

The leaves are falling – and they are staying where they fall, at least on 29 streets in Shanghai.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Colorful street scene: A file photograph of Tongbai Road in Putuo District.

The leaves are falling — and they are staying where they fall, at least on 29 streets in Shanghai.

On these streets fallen leaves will stay in situ during the day from mid-November to early January to “retain the seasonal scenery,” greenery authorities said on Tuesday. The streets include Sinan, Julu, Hunan, Wukang, Yueyang, Yuqing, Liyang, Siping, Yongfu and Hengshan roads, as well as Fuxing Road W. 

Most of the roads are lined with plane trees, and Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said it has also added several streets with other varieties of trees this year for a more colorful foliage presentation. “These include camphor, sweet gum, and locust trees and gingko,” said Jiang Ruizhi, an official with Shanghai Public Sanitation Environment Monitoring Center.

Guangfu Road in Jing’an District features camphor tree and gingko, while Siping Road in Hongkou District is lined with gingko. Hongwan Road in Hongkou features sweet gum trees and Beinei Road in Songjiang District has both plane and locust trees. Jiang said consideration is given to the traffic volume of the streets when officials select roads for keeping fallen leaves.

They should not be too big or cause traffic problems when leaves are kept and they should be noted for their beautiful landscapes, he said. The chosen roads will have different periods ranging from November 15 as the earliest to January 1 as the latest to have fallen leaves left unswept, according to the bureau.

“To maintain the environment of these roads, sanitation workers will separate waste from fallen leaves and clear garbage on these roads from time to time, and control the total amount of fallen leaves to make sure they don’t block drainage or affect traffic,” said Jiang.

“On rainy and hazy days, these fallen leaves will also be removed to ensure the safety of passers-by, so it is also normal if residents don’t see fallen leaves on these streets sometimes,” he added.

Fallen leaves are usually kept only in daytime, and they will be swept away at night. “The workload of street cleaners is actually increased,” said Jiang. The bureau wants residents to help to maintain “a clean environment and the beautiful view of fallen leaves” on these streets. 

Shanghai started a trial of leaving fallen leaves on streets in 2013. Yuqing and Wukang roads in Xuhui District were the first two roads chosen for the trial. A year later, the number was expanded to six. In 2015 and last year, the numbers were 12 and 18 respectively.

Special Reports