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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 .

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: .


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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