It’s officially Sacramento leaf season. Here are tips for keeping tidy leaf piles

Have you noticed leaves piling up lately around Sacramento? That’s because it’s officially leaf season, signaling the annual return of “the Claw” and one of the busiest times of  the year for the City’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division.

Sacramento’s official leaf season starts Nov. 1, 2021 and runs through Feb. 6, 2022. During this time, residents can place leaves and other yard waste in piles on the street for pickup. However, curbside container service will continue and will come more often than the claw used for street leaf pile pickup.

The Claw and rear loader are anticipated to scoop up more than 70,000 tons of yard waste and leaves from city streets this year, according Jesa David, media and communications specialist for the Recycling and Solid Waste Division. 

“We’ve had a busy year, but our operators and equipment are ready for leaf season,” continued David. “We ask that people fill their yard waste containers first, to let our crews move through their rotations faster.”

The Claw will make at least seven collections on each street during the season. A collection can take as long as three weeks to complete as wind and rainstorms occur and increase the volume of leaves.

Here are more tips from SacRecycle:


Customers can visit or use the free SacRecycle app starting Oct. 28,to get an estimate of their upcoming collection date. The schedule is updated daily and depends on the volume of yard waste collected the previous day, number of zones cleared, weather conditions and equipment availability.

The schedule will also show when the leaf piles were most recently collected in their neighborhood. Customers are encouraged to check the calendar frequently since estimated collection dates will change often. The last day piles can be placed on the street for collection is Jan. 23, 2022.

Fill containers first:

The Recycling and Solid Waste division will make 13 container collections during leaf season. Customers should fill their containers first then create a leaf pile to help the City remove material faster. Weekly residential containerized yard waste collection continues year-round on a customer’s regular collection day. An extra yard waste container is $3.86 a month. Customers can call 311 or go to to order a new or replacement bin.

Have a “Pile with Style”:

Piles should be placed six feet from any obstructions, allowing space for water to flow to storm drains. When possible, keep leaf piles out of bike lanes. Piles may not be larger than 4 feet by four feet by nine feet per household. Do not place plastic bags or pet waste in with yard waste. Branches should be cut to three feet in length or less and no more than four inches in diameter. Tree stumps are not allowed in piles.

Household Junk Pickup to go on Hiatus but Appliance and E-waste Collection continues Year-round:

The same staff and equipment used for the Household Junk Pickup program are deployed for seasonal leaf collection during November, December and January. The Household Junk Pickup program will go on its planned hiatus effective October 31, 2021 and will resume February 2022. Appliance and e-waste collection occurs year-round. All residents can make up to two appointments for junk pickup and two appointments for appliance/e-waste pickup in a calendar year.

More information can be found at

This article was updated to reflect that leaf season will run through Feb. 6. The last day that any yard waste can be placed out on the street for collection is Feb. 6, 2022.

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