Last Days For Yard Waste Pickup

Leaf Collection Dates


It’s time to rake the leaves!

Wondering when the last days for yard waste pickup are?

Local towns collect yard waste  on specified days in the spring through the late fall. 

Yard waste collection typically coincides with your regular trash and recycle collection.

Here are the dates for the last pick ups for Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Medford, Somerville and Watertown.

Last Days for Leaf and Yard Waste Collection

Arlington: last days for leaves and yard waste collection are Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2010

Belmont: last pickups for yard waste are Dec. 6 – Dec. 9, 2010

Cambridge: yard waste will be collected through the week of Dec. 13 – Dec. 17, 2010

Medford: last collection of yard waste will be the week of Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2010

Somerville: picks up yard waste through the week of Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2010

Check your town or city’s website for more information about what is collected and when and how yard waste should be left out.

Categories: Living Here
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Treegator – Watering Solution for Cambridge Street Trees

Treegator Bag Waters Cambridge Street Tree

Treegator Bag Waters Cambridge Street Tree

Treegator – Watering Solution for Cambridge Street Trees and Your Trees   It’s so dry out this year that you really need to pay extra attention to your yard and to the trees on the street by your house.

Transplanting a tree is not an inexpensive endeavor.  It’s an investment in time and money.  Time in the sense that it takes years for  a tree to mature – so start that clock!  You don’t want to be back to go two or three years down the road.

It’s sad and frustrating to see city trees that die after a season or two.  Too often the tree are planted but then not given the care they need to survive the critical early days and years after transplanting.

One solution that I’ve spotted around Cambridge and Somerville is the Treegator bag.  It’s a simple solution for watering – not drowning – newly planted trees.  A newly planted bush or tree will really benefit from a  Treegator bag.  Odd looking but effective from everything I’ve read.

My street trees don’t have Treegator bags so I bought a bucket on wheels.  This reminds me – time to water the trees!

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Watering the Plants

Watering the plants on Newport Road

Watering the plants on Newport Road

Watering the Plants  We spotted this ingenious setup while on our weekly tour of new Cambridge real estate listings today.

Somebody at the Newport Road condos had rigged this up – it’s a camera tripod holding up the hose sprayer.

As we drove around you couldn’t help but notice how parched it is around here – so many of the lawns are brown and flowers, bushes, even the groundcover are  drooping. Time to break out the hoses!  And don’t forget the street trees – with just a small patch of dirt those trees are even thirstier.

I still don’t have a tripod for my camera or my Flip. But if I end up with an extra I’ll put it to work with the landscaping.

Here’s the newly listed Newport Road condo we were looking at (click on the small photo for details):

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Asian Longhorned Beetle Presentation

Learn About Enemies of Your Favorite Trees at the Asian Longhorned Beetle Presentation

Asian Longhorned Beetle Presentation      All of the downed trees from Sunday’s wild storm remind me of how important urban trees are to our daily happiness.

It seems that the enemies of trees are growing in number – foes of longstanding like lightning and wind are joined by homeowners who don’t like to pick up branches or are afraid of the trees in their yard.  I cringe when I hear the sound of a saw in the neighborhood – fearing that another tree is about to be felled.

Add the Asian Longhorned Beetle to the list of things we tree huggers have to worry about.

On Wednesday night the Somerville Garden Club is sponsoring a presentation by horticulturist Debra Elson on the Asian Longhorned Beetle and other pests that damage or kill trees.

A video, “Lurking In the Trees”, about the devastation the beetle caused in Worcester will be shown.  Elson will also discuss the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Winter Moth, Eastern Tent Caterpillar, and Gypsy Moth Caterpillar.

The Somerville Garden Club meeting and Asian Longhorned Beetle presentation is scheduled for

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 7 pm

At the Tufts Administration Building, 167 Holland St, Somerville (between Davis Square & Teele Square) on the 2nd floor

Free and open to the public

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Get A Bargain On A Rain Barrel For Your Garden

Conserve water and save money with a rain barrel

Conserve water and save money with a rain barrel

Get a Bargain on a Rain Barrel for Your Garden     Hard as it is to imagine, given all the recent rain, there’ll come a time this summer when you’ll need to water your garden or lawn. 

It’s amazing how high your water bill can climb in the summer when you’re watering outdoors.  A rain barrel collects water from your gutters and stores it, under cover, to be used for irrigation.  Hook a hose up to the barrel and you can make use of the water when you need it and prevent rain water from running into the sewer system.

Rain Barrel Discounts For Cambridge and Nearby Towns

A number of Massachusetts towns and cities offer a discount on rain barrels in the spring.  The regular price for the recycled plastic barrel is $119.95.

Rain barrels can be ordered online, and details for each town’s program are available on the New England Rain Barrel Company website where you can click on your town or city’s name for details about the program offered in your area.

Here are the discounts available and the order deadlines for local towns:

  • Arlington– rain barrels are $74.95 and must be ordered by Monday, May 17, 2010 to get the discount. Composters are also available for $89.95, a $40 discount, if ordered by May 17th. The first 40 Arlington residents who purchase a composter will get an additional $35 discount – now that’s a deal!

  • Cambridge – residents can purchase a rain barrel for $74.95 if ordered by Friday, May 14, 2010

  • Medford – residents get a discounted price of $74.95 through the Mystic River Watershed Association if orders are placed by Thursday, May 27, 2010

  • Somerville– rain barrels can be purchased for $74.95 and composters are available for $89.95, a $40 discount. Orders must be placed by Monday, May 3, 2010 to buy at the discounted price.

  • Watertown – barrels are available for $74.95 if ordered by Friday, April 23, 2010.

Get a bargain on a rain barrel for your garden – check out the New England Rain Barrel Company.

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Turn Your Cambridge Yard Into a Wildlife Habitat

Certified Wildlife Habitat in Cambridge

Certified Wildlife Habitat in Cambridge


When I spotted this sign in the Agassiz neighborhood during our weekly tour of new Cambridge real estate listings I couldn’t help but be intrigued. How did this city yard become a Certified Wildlife Habitat?

Turns out it’s a program from the National Wildlife Federation, which I know best as the publishers of Ranger Rick, my brother’s favorite magazine when he was a kid and nature buff.

To qualify your yard – no matter how small – as a Certified Wildlife Habitat you’ll need:

  • Food sources
  • Water sources
  • Places for cover
  • Places to raise young
  • Sustainable gardening

Read more about the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

It sounds like a fun and rewarding project for the whole family.  I’m planning on adding a bird bath to my yard as I work my way through the steps.

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Gardening In Cambridge – Work With What You’ve Got

Gardening in Cambridge is sometimes a challenge.  We often have only limited outdoor space. Sometimes window boxes on the deck will have to do.  Some will be lucky enough to score a plot at a community garden. Or perhaps a windowsill herb garden might fill the greenthumb’s urge.

Gardening In The City

Gardening In The City

I spotted this creative solution outside a townhouse off Chauncy Street near Harvard Square. It looks like most of the flower pots didn’t get filled this year – gardening requires a commitment of time and effort we can’t always make.  Even empty the pots are an eye catching sight – almost an airborne sculpture.

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Black Swallow-wort in Massachusetts – Join the Fight


Black Swallow-Wort on a Cambridge Chain Link Fence

Black Swallow-Wort on a Cambridge Chain Link Fence

It’s prime time in the war against Black Swallow-wort in Massachusetts – Swallowwort is flourishing in Massachusetts and there are large stands around Cambridge, Watertown, Medford and Somerville.

Black Swallow-wort is a very invasive plant that can take over a landscape and spread far if seeds are dispersed. Not only will it crowd out other plants but it has been shown to have a negative impact on songbird populations and on monarch butterflies.

I have a feeling that Black Swallow-wort thrives with a lot of rain because there’s a bumper crop out there.  The pods seem to have come out early – I found vines with maturing pods in June. 

Around the city it often seems that homeowners think that Swallowwort is an attractive vine.  In Cambridge and Somerville you often find the vines climbing over chain link fences – providing a wall of greenery that hides the chain link.  When we were on our weekly tour I spotted a new real estate listing in Watertown where a support had been carefully placed in the garden for a Swallow-wort vine.

You do NOT want to encourage Black Swallow-wort in your garden – and instead should mount a full scale campaign to eradicate it.

While it is an ongoing struggle to kill Black Swallow-wort – best done with liberal applications of Round-up – and lots of digging – now is the time to collect pods.

The first year I discovered swallow-wort in my yard I made the mistake of breaking off  the vines and leaving the pods. Unfortunately even when the vine is dead the pods will eventually open and disperse their fluff-borne seeds

Pounds of Swallow-Wort Pods

Pounds of Swallow-Wort Pods

Pods must be removed and burned or carefully bagged and disposed of in a landfill.

I have taken to carrying bags with me in order to collect pods.  This morning in Watertown Square I happened to pass a hedge with Swallow-wort vines growing in it.  By the time I was done I had collected over 2.5 POUNDS of pods!!

What Does Swallow-Wort Look Like?

  • Swallow-wort’s shiny green leaves come in pairs
  • The vine grows fast and will twine around fences and tree and bush branches
  • The pods are slim, smooth and green
  • When it flowers the vine has small, purple, star-shaped blossoms

Please join the fight!!  If you see swallow-wort pods – pluck them!  Swallow-wort will soon blanket Massachusetts if we don’t stem its spread.

Here are some more photographs of Black Swallow-wort found in Cambridge and Watertown:


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