Brush pickiup

City of Murray Public Works employee Carver Lawson, right, grabs a load of broken tree branches in the yard of a home on Cherry Street in 2019, as teammates Clint Evans, left, and Dennis Forbes prepare to grab a load themselves for insertion into a chipper being used for the city's brush pickup.

MURRAY — Residents within the city limits of Murray have a few days left until the start of a highly-anticipated service.

City of Murray Street and Sanitation Manager Ron Allbritten announced during last Thursday’s meeting of the Murray City Council that the annual citywide spring brush pickup will begin Monday. 

The city is divided into five sections and Allbritten said that it will be the smallest of those sections that will be handled first. This is the area south of Main Street between U.S. 641 South (South 12th Street) and South 16th Street.

“From there, we will move through the rest of the city by going counterclockwise,” he said of Section 2, which is all residences east of 12th Street and south of Main. A map that shows the pattern that will be followed is available on  the city’s website, www.murrayky.gov

As always, there are some rules to follow for residents wishing to submit brush for disposal.

“We can’t take anything over 6 inches in diameter and people need to have it 6 feet long or shorter,” Allbritten said. “Then, (residents) need to put it in a neat stack at the front of their yard, where we can get to it with our chipper. We feed all of that into the chipper.

“We can’t take any of what we call ‘square’ wood … no 2x4s or stuff like that. We can’t take plywood because those are treated. We actually used to take treated wood because we used to be able to take it to Welch’s Gravel (north of Murray) and they used it in their reclamation. Now, until we find another place where we can legally take it, we can’t do that, and the chipper itself is really not designed for lumber.”

Allbritten said that when it comes to garden-related material, the chipper can handle a very narrow scope.

“Woody stems? Yes, we can do that,” he said. “Vines and stuff like that? No, we can’t take that because all that will do is just get tangled up inside the chipper and we don’t need that. The chipper won’t chip up those vines.

“And please, we don’t need any root balls getting in there either. That has gravel and things that get caught up in that and really creates a problem for the chipper.”

Allbritten also wished to address a problem he said has developed in advance of Monday’s start to the brush pickup. He said there are some parts of the city, particularly on streets that are divided, such as boulevards, where brush piles have formed on those divider islands.

“Don’t do that,” he said, explaining that the reason has everything to do with directional matters. “And really this goes more for the leaf pickup (in the fall and winter), but a lot of our equipment is designed for going to the right side of the street, not the left. So, when we have stuff in the middle of the street like that, we’re actually having to come down the wrong side of the road (opposite traffic) to get and that just becomes a mess.”

Something else residents will notice this year is that the brush pickup is happening at its usual time. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic had a large part in that not being the case, as the “spring” brush pickup became the “fall” brush pickup.

This was because Class D inmates from the Calloway County Jail were not able to perform their usual duties of mowing the Murray City Cemetery. That meant city street personnel were spending most of their time concentrating on the cemetery mowing, meaning brush pickup was pushed farther and farther into the year.

Allbritten said that is changing this year and his personnel will be able to tend to the brush pickup on time.