Though I've lived in a lot of places throughout the west (Denver, Reno, Los Angeles, Nebraska) I'd never experienced the phenomenon known as 'The Brush Pile' until I got to The South.
In front of my house, on one corner of the lot, I pile sticks and branches which have fallen out of the trees in the wind. I also put the big branches I cut off to shape my erstwhile forest. I even put Big Stumpy out there once I had beaten him into submission. There is a pile of wood like this in front of most every house in my neighborhood. It's almost like a holiday decoration which sticks around for most of the year.
Two to three times a year, usually spring and fall, city workers come by and, with a big claw, pick up the branches et al, toss them in a big truck and carry them away. It's a great service and one, as I say, which I've only seen in the South.
The Brush Pile can get pretty big too, depending on how much you cut during the year. The object is to get your branches trimmed, trees cut and overgrown brush cut down on a regular basis and into the brush pile BEFORE the city comes. Leaving the cutting to too late in the year and you end up with a brush pile which sits most of the summer or winter. I've had a couple of summers now where I've not done my cutting early enough and ended up having to mow around the pile all summer long. This leads to a rather ugly looking monster of a pile with shaggy edges and who knows what living beneath it.
One year I had a run in with a neighbor over the brush pile. She thought that the pile was hers and would throw my branches out onto the center of my lawn when I was at work. I'd come home and calmly put them back. One day I caught her dragging a big branch off the pile so I asked her what the freaking heck she thought she was doing. (I did not, however, use those exact words, as I'm sure you can imagine.)
"It's my yard!" she yelled. I pointed out that it was my property and also calmly indicated that HER property ended at the edge of her driveway. Being as we were standing right there at the edge of her driveway the visual was a hard argument. To this she responded "Well I MOW it!" (Apparently she would mow one pass along the edge of the driveway between her property and mine and for some reason she thought this granted ownership. I'm not making this up!) I was almost at a loss for words. How do you argue against that kind of logic? I said simply, "Oh, ok then, let me get my mower out and I'll do your entire yard and then I will own YOUR whole lot." Too much logic. She huffed off. Thank goodness she ended up moving not to long after that, and my new neighbor and I now share the brush pile without problems.
I'm pretty sure that it's the growth of the trees and such which causes the need for the Brush Pile. I really don't know why the city comes around like they do, but I'm sure glad they do it, otherwise I'd have one heck of a brush pile in no time flat and I have absolutely no idea what to do with it or how to get rid of it. Rats...thinking on this reminds me I've got some things to cut down.
Where's my chain saw?