I love the monsoon rains — except for all the weeds.
Those swaying thickets of long, lanky plants have sprouted everywhere — well, except for the highway medians. The Arizona Department of Transportation is fanatical about mowing the highways — for fear of spreading wildfires.
But elsewhere the weeds have run riot. The relentless crop of weeds has crushed my soul. I have weeded the same flower beds four times now.
But that could be dangerous, said Kevin McCully, the fuels manager for the Payson Fire Department.
“It will dry and become kindling,” he said.
Cut those suckers off at four inches, he said. Otherwise, one little spark in the forest of dried out weeds can start a dangerous fire.
But what do you do with the weeds you chop down?
McCully said the brush pits won’t take the cut grass.
“They only take green waste,” he said.
That includes brush, tree branches and even logs.
“Just no root balls. They have rocks and dirt,” he said.
Contaminated green waste gets into the machinery used to grind up the green waste into material the Novo Power plant can use to generate energy from biomass.
McCully said Gibson & Son, the company that processes the waste, has already spent thousands replacing machinery ruined by barbed wire entangled in green waste.
So — set the weeds aside for a minute. We’ll get back to them.
You still have time to clear away the brush and small trees that pose a much greater danger to your house, said McCully.
The free brush pits, Blattner and Pine, will remain open until October, while the brush pit at the Buckhead Mesa Landfill remains open all year.
Yes, the landfill will take green waste — like brush and tree branches, said McCully.
“Just make sure it’s clean,” he said.
OK. I get it. Firewise. Firewise. Firewise.
But that won’t solve my monsoon problem.
“That’s all fine and dandy for green waste,” I told McCully, “but I have lots of grass.”
McCully had an answer: Leave them on the ground — or chop them up for mulch.
“Most homeowners don’t like that,” he said, but it’s safer than letting the tall weeds dry into perfect fire-starting material.
“We have a fire pit,” I said. “So I burn them.”
“You’re supposed to have a burn permit,” McCully told me.
“Oops. Why?” I asked.
I should have figured that one out a couple of years ago after neighbors saw the smoke and called the fire department.
“Now we burn at night,” I told McCully.
He shook his head.
The fire department limits burning hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which allows the smoke to dissipate instead of settling into the neighborhood.
“Now that you’ve explained everything, I’m happy to get a burn permit,” I said.
McCully gave me a pained look.
My community — East Verde Park — does not allow the Payson Fire Department to distribute burn permits, although the community does contract with Payson for fire protection.
Sigh ... maybe it’s time to learn about mulching.