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Sacramento residents get more Claw time

Leaf season and street pick-up extended through Feb. 6

The Claw green waste collection machine
The Claw will be performing street pick-ups later into the year, the City of Sacramento decided. (Photo courtesy city of Sacramento)

Sacramento’s leaf season is lasting longer this new year.

Instead of its original Jan. 23 cutoff date, the City of Sacramento extended its in-street pick-up of garden waste and Christmas trees two weeks. The last date to put green waste curbside is now Feb. 6.

A quirky Sacramento tradition, in-street pick-up is limited to November through January. But city crews that operate The Claw – the articulated tractor used to scoop up the piles – have been running way behind schedule. Due to staffing shortages, Sacramento has been operating only five Claw crews; in past years, they’ve had eight.

Heavy storms in October and December further complicated pick-ups. Meanwhile, piles in some leafy neighborhoods continued to grow and grow. Both the Sacramento Bee and local TV stations reported this week about delays. The City of Sacramento already had extended its leaf season schedule to attempt to catch up.

Usually, The Claw visits residential streets seven times during leaf season, with pick-ups spaced about two weeks apart. Residents can get an estimate of when The Claw will arrive on their street using the Leaf Season collection calendar. Find the link at S acLeafSmart.org .

Some reminders:

* When recycling Christmas trees, trees should be clean of all lights, tinsel, tree stands, nails and decorations. Flocked trees will be accepted.

* Leaf piles can be no bigger than 4 by 4 by 9 feet (and just one per household). Make sure there is space between the pile and the curb so water can flow down the gutter. Also, place the pile at least 6 feet away from cars, boats, basketball hoops or other obstructions. The Claw needs room to maneuver.

* Don’t put plastic bags in street piles (including bags full of leaves). And don’t contaminate the leaf pile with trash or dog poop (a common problem).

* During leaf season, the City of Sacramento continues to pick up green waste containers. Fill those first before piling leaves in the street, advises the recycling and solid waste department. The containers will get picked up 13 times during Leaf Season while residents can expect seven visits from The Claw.

For more information: SacLeafSmart.org .

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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