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The Claw returns to Sacramento streets

The Claw is coming for your leaves! Check the calendar to find out when. (Photo courtesy City of Sacramento)

Leaf Season officially begins with collection calendar

I love The Claw!

When I heard that metal-against-concrete scrape, I knew Sacramento Leaf Season had officially begun. As someone who does a lot of pruning and has a lot of leaves, I really appreciate The Claw's service. Now I know when to expect its visit.

Through Jan. 27, 2019, the City of Sacramento rolls out its leaf-collecting brigade of John Deere scoopers. This machine, affectionately nicknamed The Claw, grabs big piles of leaves, prunings and other garden waste that tends to overwhelm the City of Trees in late fall and winter.

According to the City of Sacramento, 10 to 15 crews will cruise city streets with Claws and rear-loading trucks. By the end of the season, they expect to pick up more than 54 million pounds of green waste.

Residents can plan ahead for when to put out piles for The Claw. The city suggests filling green waste containers for weekly pick-up before piling up material in the street; that makes the whole process go faster.

Some tips on leaf piles:
* Piles should be no more than 5 cubic yards. That's 4 by 4 by 9 feet, or the size of a small sports car.
* Limbs, branches and canes should be no more than 3 feet long and under 4 inches in diameter.
* Place pile at least 6 feet away from any obstructions (such as parked cars). Allow space between the pile and the curb to allow water to flow to storm drains. Try not to block bike lanes.
* No plastic bags; it's green waste only.
* No pet waste. (Put that in the garbage.)
For more tips: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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