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The Claw is (almost) back!

Sacramento's Leaf Season begins Sunday

The Leaf refuse collecting machine
The Claw will be back in action in Sacramento starting Sunday.
(Photo courtesy City of Sacramento)





Scraaaaaaaaaaape! That scary sound of metal against concrete will be music to many Sacramento gardeners’ ears.

It’s that time of year again: The return of The Claw!

The day after Halloween, Sacramento officially starts “Leaf Season” and nearly three months of in-street leaf pick-up.

According to Sacramento’s Recycling and Solid Waste Department, The Claw operates Sunday, Nov. 1 through Jan. 24. (And yes, Claw crews work on weekends.)

When will The Claw be on your street? Check
SacLeafSmart.org for updated estimates of Claw pick-up schedules. The City also offers a free and handy SacRecycle app for your phone so you can get the latest Claw news anywhere any time.

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).

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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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