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Earth Friendly: Brush up on brush collection

By By Marie Lester
June 28, 2012 at 1:28 a.m.

Marie Lester

Have you ever noticed the sign on Main Street about Victoria being a "Tree City U.S.A." community? I have driven past this sign for years and never knew what it meant, so I looked it up. Tree City U.S.A. is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation and Victoria has been a member for 13 years.

Being a Tree City basically means that we value trees in our community, have a plan in place to plant trees, take care of Victoria's existing trees and celebrate Arbor Day. Now you know.

But, you may drive around Victoria and think, "There aren't that many trees here," or, "These aren't trees, these are bushes." But there are actually a lot of trees owned by the city, businesses or residents. Whoever owns the tree is responsible for taking care of it. Trees are living things that need water, sun and a "haircut" every now and then.

Folks, it's tree "haircut" season. The spring and summer is when most people trim their trees. You can trim your own trees, or you can hire someone to do it for you. If you hire someone, the company is responsible for hauling the trimmings off.

If you trim them yourself and you have a city of Victoria water and garbage utility account, the city of Victoria Environmental Services Department's Solid Waste Division will pick them up for you.

Tree limbs are picked up on a quarterly schedule throughout the year. Before cutting your limbs, please check the collection schedule available on the City's website. Visit victoriatx.org/environmental/treelimbs.asp for a map of your residential area and then consult the quarterly collection schedule to find out when city crews will be in your area picking up limbs.

This will help prevent residents from having large bundles of limbs sitting out on their curb for extended amounts of time. The city won't be able to give you an exact day they will pick up your brush, but will get pretty close.

Everything over six cubic yards (4 feet x 4 feet x 10 feet) will incur a $1.50 per minute fee. The first six cubic yards are removed at no charge, but everything after that will get charged.

Here are some tips for placing your tree limbs at the curb for pickup. These tips are important because the brush is picked up with a truck that has a big hydraulic arm on it - the arm needs space to maneuver.

Place brush pile away from obstacles (mailboxes, cars, water meter, telephone poles, trash cans, etc.) and within 5 feet of the street.

Make sure there is head space above the brush pile (not under a tree or power line)

Place cut ends to the street. Try not to place brush out like "spaghetti" - it is easier and faster for the truck to pick up nice, neat piles.

Cut brush into pieces 8 feet long or shorter. The bigger in diameter (such as a tree trunk), the shorter it should be cut.

If you can't wait for the city to be in your area, here are some other options:

Schedule an out of cycle pick-up for a $20 service fee plus $1.50 per minute. Any fees incurred will be charged on your water/garbage utility bill. The office has set Friday for out-of-cycle collection and limited 10 per Friday.

Take your brush to the Garden-Ville Composting facility at 18125 Farm-to-Market Road 1686 (near the landfill); there is a fee for this. Call 361-897-1500 for more information.

Bundle your brush with twine into 4-foot-long bundles that weigh no more than 50 pounds; the city will pick up four of these bundles at a time as yard waste (these are picked up by hand, not by a big truck arm).

If they will fit with limbs not protruding from the top of the container, place tree limbs and yard waste in old trash cans, brown paper lawn bags or a cardboard box out by the curb and they will be picked up on the same day as your regular trash pick-up.

Brush and yard waste is recycled into compost at the Garden-Ville compost facility and is sold in bulk or in bags at Garden-Ville and in local stores.

If you have questions or need assistance, please call the Solid Waste Division of the Environmental Services Department at 361-485-3220.

Marie Lester, is the Environmental Programs Coordinator for the City of Victoria's Environmental Services Department. You may contact her with topic ideas, inspiration, questions and comments at cmlester@victoriatx.org.

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