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The Claw season ends Monday in Sacramento

In-street pick-up service wraps up for another winter

Sacramento city residents have until Monday, Jan. 29, to put leaves and other yard waste out for the Claw to pick up. Check neighborhood schedules.

Sacramento city residents have until Monday, Jan. 29, to put leaves and other yard waste out for the Claw to pick up. Check neighborhood schedules. Courtesy City of Sacramento

Got pruning? You better hurry up if you want in-street pick-up. The Claw’s days are officially numbered for this season.

Sacramento residents who want to put their green waste in the street for pick-up have until Monday, Jan. 29, to do so. That’s the last day before the city’s fleet of Claws – Sacramento’s specialized articulated tractors – call it a season and go back to the heavy equipment barn.

For three months each year, the Claws scoop up leaf piles and other debris from city streets. It’s a unique service that residents in the City of Trees treasure as a legacy.

On average, the Claw visits each neighborhood about seven times during leaf season, which started Nov. 1.

Residents can find out when the Claw will be in their neighborhood with the Claw calendar, available on Sacramento’s official Leaf Season webpage, www.SacLeafSmart.org. Just put in your street address and the online calendar will tell you when to expect the Claw in your neighborhood.

In all, the Claw crews expect to pick up about 20,000 tons of green waste this season. Besides leaves, branches and other pruning debris are also accepted. (No tree stumps allowed.)

Although organic food waste (along with leaves and yard debris) now goes in the green-waste container, don’t dump food waste or paper into leaf piles. The Claw won’t pick them up. Instead, put such organic waste in the green-waste container.

In fact, city officials prefer that residents put as much as they can into the green-waste container before putting piles in the street.

Here are more tips:

* 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.

* Place the pile at least 6 feet away from cars, boats, basketball hoops or other obstructions. The Claw needs room to maneuver. Don’t block bike lanes.

* Don’t put plastic bags in street piles (including bags full of leaves or debris).

* And don’t contaminate the leaf pile with trash or dog poop (a common problem).

After leaf season, Sacramento residents can still arrange for special in-street pick-up of large items such as chopped-up tree limbs – as well as old appliances and furniture. From February to October, residents can get two free “Household Junk Pick-up” appointments simply by calling “311.” (Remember: Don’t put items in the street until after your pick-up is confirmed.)

For more information: SacLeafSmart.org.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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