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Tumbleweeds rolling through Manteca again

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Tumbleweeds rolling through Manteca again

Tumbleweeds caught on a Manteca fence.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED October 29, 2009 2:19 a.m.
You could see them rolling down Atherton Drive.

There were a couple bouncing around Moffat Boulevard.

It was a sure sign that tumbleweed season has returned to Manteca.

The high winds earlier this week, though, didn’t create the havoc in Manteca that it once did when combined with dry conditions that are perfect for plants that form tumbleweeds to dry up and tumble.

It wasn’t uncommon back in the early 1990s for tumbleweeds to pile up against the concrete dividers that once separated the original Highway 120 Bypass lanes creating major traffic hazards. Caltrans, at one time, had crews who literally went out on tumbleweed patrol in high winds to remove those that had collected in spots that created driving hazards.

The 120 Bypass was prime for tumbleweed catching thanks to the sandy loam farmland immediately to the south. Since then, development has eliminated much of the tumbleweed problem.

“It definitely has gotten better over the years as Manteca has developed more land,” noted Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin.

Manteca’s tumbleweeds – often half the width of a car – were not something you’d mess with when driving. They could get caught on a car’s undercarriages and create problems.

Now Manteca’s biggest tumbleweed issue can be found along the Tidewater, primarily the Moffat Boulevard leg.

McLaughlin gave the volunteers with the 2nd Saturday effort through Crossroads Grace Community Church high marks for clearing much of the tumbleweeds out earlier this month to reduce the hazard of blowing tumbleweeds. The church removed the tumbleweeds while preparing to plant several hundred trees along that stretch of the Tidewater Bikeway.

You can also see them on some private property including where Tesoro Apartments is being proposed along Atherton Drive. The property owners, though, have cleared the land once this year of potential tumbleweeds reducing the amount you’ll find there.

If tumbleweeds are on private property, it is the responsible of the homeowner to break them up and place them in their green Toter.

If you spot some on city streets where they are creating a hazard and are “trapped” against a sound wall along a sidewalk, you should alert the city.
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