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Let those leaves fall -- The Claw is back!

Sacramento Leaf Season officially returns with curbside pick-up

Large vehicle with leaf-grabbing claw
It's time for The Claw to make its appearance on Sacramento streets. (Photo
courtesy City of Sacramento.)



What metallic monster returns to Sacramento the day AFTER Halloween? The Claw, of course!

Nov. 1 is the official start of Sacramento Leaf Season and curbside pick-up of green waste. And with that pick-up comes the specially equipped mechanical leaf picker-upper affectionately nicknamed The Claw.

Through Jan. 23, city crews will scour and scrape the streets for leaf piles. Between now and then, each home will get about seven visits from The Claw.

“In the early part of the season, time between collections may be shorter,” says the city’s leaf season website. “As leaf drop volume grows, and if wind and rainstorms occur, it can take crews longer to rotate through the entire city.”

Without rain, it usually takes the crews 12 days to rotate around the city, picking up leaf piles. But a big storm can double that estimate. The wait time is usually longer in November and December when leaf fall is greatest.

“The schedule is updated daily based on volume of yard waste from the previous day, weather conditions and equipment availability,” says the city. “Check the calendar frequently since collection dates change often. Crews work rain or shine, including holidays.”

No days off for The Claw. Crews work sevens days a week including holidays.

Some reminders:

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).

Any branches in the pile should be trimmed to 3-foot pieces.

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 – almost twice as much as visits from The Claw.

See when The Claw will visit you! For more information and the link to the calendar:
SacLeafSmart.org .

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* 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 is really hungry. Feed 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.

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

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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