Green waste recycling week is upon us - Albuquerque Journal

Green waste recycling week is upon us

Tracey FitzgibbonQ. You reminded us about the seasonal green waste collection that the city offers, but didn’t have current information, and would keep us apprised as to when this service would be offered next by the city. Any word yet? – L.R., West Side Albuquerque

A. Good news! Having poked around the city of Albuquerque’s website, there is an announcement of this year’s green waste collection dates.

From Monday, Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, you can set your leaves, pruning and garden waste at the curb, and it will be collected by a group of dedicated city workers to recycle.

Remember that this service isn’t to be abused! There are rules and suggestions for the green waste collection.

First, your collections should not weigh more than 40 pounds per bag. There isn’t a suggestion as to the color of the bag but I use clear ones so there is no doubt about what’s inside.

Be sure to place all green waste recycling five feet from trash and recycling containers, as well as any large items scheduled for pick-up. Do not place green waste recycling into the regular recycling container.

You can recycle limbs and branches, but they need to be cut into manageable lengths of no more than four feet, and be bundled with twine. Again, aim for the no more than 40 pounds so our collection people aren’t hurt trying to load stuff that is too heavy.

Also know that this isn’t a service to be abused by some aiming to dispose of construction debris or leftover material, also no automotive products like tires, large tree stumps, rocks, dirt, or chemicals of any sort.

The city collects the green waste (leaves, twigs, and smaller branches) to be mulched and turned into a reusable product used in landscaping projects citywide.

It saves valuable space in the landfills, and once mulched, creates food for the earth. So it’s a very good service that the city offers us twice a year here in the metro area.

So now you have the dates so you can get your yards tidied up to get us through this season of dormancy a little cleaner, knowing your green waste will be used for a good thing.

For more information visit

Q. Now that my trees have dropped all their leaves for the winter, am I supposed to keep on watering? And if so, how often and for how long? – R.G., Albuquerque

A. You betcha you need to continue watering throughout the winter months. Certainly not as often, but water none the less.

I’ve mentioned and explained the city’s Water by the Numbers program – more commonly known as the 1-2-3-2-1 system – of suggested watering for established trees, shrubs and big plants here more than once.

It’s suggested since we’re in our dormant stage that you offer water no more than once a week for the big stuff.

I define “big stuff” as trees, shrubs, roses and hedges that have been growing for at least three successive growing seasons.

Your aim is to offer a deep drink every seven-to-ten days from now until March of next year when the number jumps to twice in a 10-day period.

But that’s months away, so concentrate on the here and now. I do realize that we’re in a drought period, but without keeping the established plant life healthy, we’re in a big pickle.

I was recently chastised for watering and actually took offense. Finally after being berated by this concerned citizen, I asked him point blank “Can you make oxygen?”

It took a moment of him being flustered before there was a moment of dawning enlightenment on his face. I explained that watering this time of year is necessary.

Without keeping the root systems of my beloved large tree and shrubs watered, they could easily suffer since we hadn’t been blessed with measurable precipitation.

Remember by watering the big stuff, if it does get really wickedly cold, those roots will be insulated and healthier in the long run.

I recommend the deep watering for the big stuff but if you have newly-planted (just this past season) trees, shrubs, roses, perennial gardens, a turf lawn and or freshly planted bulbs you should be watering maybe every five-to-seven days to help keep those “youngsters” insulated.

As for how long to water, when I’m watering my big stuff I set the hose out running at a good trickle and leave it set there for fifteen minutes. It’s then moved and left to trickle for another fifteen minutes, so on until I’ve made a complete circle around my tree.

When I do water I am faithfully aware of where the water goes. If it even thinks about running onto the sidewalk – or heaven forbid the street – it’s redirected to the plant life. I can get fairly militant when it comes to plant life tending, but know this, you opted to plant, so it’s your responsibility to care for your handiwork. Since you can’t make oxygen, tend to the things that can.

Happy Diggin’ In!

Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or to


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