It is illegal to blow garden refuse into the streets outside of leaf season, according to The Modesto Bee on March 2. Refuse includes leaves, branches, trees, grass and shrubs. The leaf season is from mid November to mid January.
Modesto is known as a city of trees and is the home of the original Modesto Ash tree, which was a grafted hybrid tree. Modesto has tens of thousands of deciduous trees, or trees that lose their leaves in the Autumn. This would explain the rationale for having a leaf season during which citizens are allowed to sweep garden refuse, especially fallen leaves, into the street gutters. However, after the leaf season, there is no reason for people to be blowing or sweeping leaves or other types of garden refuse into the streets and it is illegal to do so.
Steve Lumpkin, the Modesto's Parks and Recreation Director, told reporters that although it is his department's responsibility to cite citizens who blow garden refuse into the city street gutters outside of leaf season, that his primary concern is with people who dump oil and other types of toxic waste into the streets. Lumpkin did state, however, that his department does cite for garden refuse dumping. One case in point was Grover Landscape Service which was fined for dumping garden refuse into the gutter. Ironically, Grover Landscape Service is the landscape company that is contracted to provide services for the City of Modesto.
Jocelyn Reed, the City of Modesto's Solid Waste Program Manager, said that her department will be citing violators who dump too early or whose refuse piles are too large. She also stated that much of the debris that is being dumped into the streets could be cut up and put into the green garden refuse garbage cans that are provided to each Modesto homeowner and intended for refuse recycling. The refuse recycling program brings money to the City.