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Citywide Curbside Collection of Storm Tree Debris Starts in the South Zone

In September, the City of Boulder initiated a special curbside collection program for downed limbs and branches resulting from an early snowstorm.

In addition to debris pick up, Boulder Forestry has removed hanging branches, tree limbs and other debris from public lands, roadways and other areas that may pose a public safety hazard. Along with the contractor Custom Tree Care, the city began the collection in the North Zone (north of Canyon) on Sept. 18.

Branch pick up in this North Zone is substantially complete, taking approximately one week longer than anticipated. The curbside collection was specifically for storm damage and not for general yard waste or non-organic material. Residents might still see trucks collecting the last few piles, but residents in this zone should not place additional branches on the curb. 

Starting this weekend, the crews will begin to collect tree debris in the South Zone – South of Canyon Boulevard. The coordinated pick-up will include all neighborhoods south of Canyon, and trucks will continue throughout the zone until complete. This work will occur from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, including weekends, until complete; due to the city’s scheduled furlough day on Friday, Oct. 9, debris collection will not happen on this day.

Community members in the South Zone should have already placed limbs and branches curbside in the right-of-way, either next to the curb or in parking spaces in the street but not impeding the travel lanes. Debris designated for pick-up should not be placed in alleys or parking lots. Bike and pedestrian lanes and paths must be kept clear, and traffic flow should not be impeded.

Due to constraints such as alley width, utilities and truck dimensions, alley pick-up is unavailable. Similarly, do not place branches near obstacles like street signs, parked cars or in parking lots as this limits the truck’s ability to access the debris. There are no requirements for sizing or bundling materials, aside from piling and placing tree debris in the appropriate location.

During the program, crews will collect tree debris only. Other yard waste such as grass clippings or leaves should be placed in curbside compost collection containers. Non-organic materials, including plastic bags, treated or painted lumber, or other household materials will NOT be picked up because all organic material collected during this collection program will be composted.

The expense of this special collection was funded from the City of Boulder General Fund reserves, a portion of the city budget used to pay for basic activities in areas such as public safety and human services that are not accounted for in another fund. This fund sets aside money for emergency or unanticipated priorities, such as helping the community recover from severe weather events. The tree collection cost so far is approximately $300,000 for the North Zone pick up and Boulder Forestry’s citywide removal of public tree safety hazards. Around 200 truckloads, or 16,000 cubic yards, of tree debris has been removed to date, and over 2,400 trees had storm damage removed. 

Residents and property owners are reminded that it is their responsibility to remove fallen branches and other debris from their property. For those that decline to participate in the citywide pick-up, or for those in the North Zone in which collection is now complete, other options to dispose of branches from private property include:

  • Place branches that fit inside existing curbside compost collection bins. Branches may also be bundled: bundled branches must be no more than 6 feet long, 3 inches in diameter, and cannot weigh more than 35 pounds. All materials placed outside of the cart must be in compostable bags and/or branches must be bundled to avoid extra charges. Consult your trash service provider for specific instructions. This debris will be collected as part of the city’s curbside compost collection program on the regularly scheduled collection day for that property.
  • Take tree branches to Western Disposal, located at 5880 Butte Mill Rd.
  • Contact a licensed arborist to pick up or chip branches.

For more information about the tree debris collection, including a pick-up map and answers to frequently asked questions, visit bouldercolorado.gov/public-works/special-curbside-collection.

Media Contacts:
Jeff Haley, Parks and Recreation Planning, Design and Community Engagement Manager, 720-648-0197
Denise White, Media Relations, 303-413-7258

Published Oct. 2, 2020