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Posts tagged ‘landscape tips’

Autumn is the time for yard care

 . . . Fall is an important time of year for employing organic and sustainable gardening methods.

Pesticide Free SLC!

Preparing for next year– Be Pesticide Free!

The fall is a key part of the gardening cycle because it allows us to prepare our garden for the winter and sets us up for a productive spring and summer.

Most pesticides and fertilizers used today are produced with harmful chemicals that even when applied correctly can have adverse effects on the environment, pollinators, and human health.

But don’t worry– there are plenty of ways to have a healthy garden and lawn without using noxious chemicals.

Leave the Leaves

Not all leaves need to be raked up and disposed of immediately:

  • Consider that your leaves are a free fertilizer and weed suppressant! This makes them perfect for organic gardening.
  • Leaves also provide important winter habitat for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial bugs.
  • Finally, “leaving your leaves” reduces emissions associated with polluting leaf blowers. Keeping leaves out of the landfill also prevents the generation of potent methane emissions.

So how can you use leaves?

Use whole leaves around perennials, trees and bushes, or lightly layered on lawn (they may need to be shredded first). You can also create a leaf pile that will decompose into “leaf mold“– a rich, valuable compost amendment to be used in warmer months. Or– if you’re like me– simply pile your leaves on your vegetable garden bed and turn them into the soil in the spring before planting.

And if you still have too many leaves, use your curbside compost can to dispose of them (please keep them out of the gutters and storm drains). If you have a lot of leaves, give us a shout and we’ll help you get an extra container or two.

Here are a number of helpful resources on “leaving leaves”:
Xerces Foundation      National Wildlife Federation     Leave Leaves Alone

Use organic amendments to improve the health of your soil

Materials like the aforementioned leaves, as well as other compost, manure, bone meal, etc. can be used to balance the pH of your soil and will release nutrients into the soil to create a vibrant ecosystem and help your garden grow. Mulches can also be great for keeping weeds down, retaining moisture, and feeding the soil. Other organic soil enhancers, like coffee grounds, tea bags, and even newspaper can be an important tool in keeping your garden thriving. Learn more about amending your soil.
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Join Us for a Family Field Day on April 13!

On April 13, Stonyfield Yogurt will host a “Field Day” of fun-filled family activities for the general public to enjoy, which celebrates a new program and collaboration with the City.

Bouncy houses, games, music, free organic yogurt and other activities will be located between playing fields at the Regional Athletic Complex and are open to all. Education about organic field maintenance will also take place at a fun “Edutainment Cart” featuring interactive and educational activities for kids and parents.

At 1 pm Mayor Jackie Biskupski will receive a donation of $5,000 from Stonyfield Organic yogurt to support the Pesticide Free SLC program. It will be used to convert two fields at the Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) to organic land care maintenance methods.

The company will also pledge an additional $40,000 to cover technical services to implement and identify best management practices that could be scaled up at the RAC, with the goal of making it the first sports complex in the nation with professional-grade fields being maintained through organic maintenance practices.

What: “Field Day of Fun!” to Celebrate Organic Land Care with Stonyfield Organic

Where: Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex, 2280 Rose Park Lane, Salt Lake City

When: Saturday, April 13, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The initiative is aimed at reducing overall chemical use in the Salt Lake City community and includes both a municipal and public focus. Building off the best management practices already employed by the Parks Division for the maintenance of all municipal parks and fields, the City has been piloting organic land care methods at both Laird and Madsen parks since 2017.

The support of Stonyfield will give Salt Lake City its largest organically-maintained lawn areas to date, with the focus on high-visibility and heavy-use spaces.

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As the Heat Rolls In, Be Water Wise

waterwiselandscape

With snow levels and spring run-off below average again this year, Salt Lake City Public Utilities is calling on its water customers to be watchful in regards to water use, avoiding both overwatering and water waste. Here are a few tips:

Sprinklers

  • Make sure sprinklers water the grass, and not patios or cement.
  • Check for clogged sprinkler heads and be sure to clear them out. Clogged heads will not evenly distribute water on your lawn and waste water.
  • Register for a free sprinkler check, which will include a catch cup test. The test evaluates the evenness of your watering system and will help you set up an effective and personalized irrigation schedule.

Other Tips for a Healthy Lawn

  • Healthy lawns should be watered deeply and infrequently so roots go down deep.
  • The higher you leave the grass, the healthier the lawn. Leave it about 2-3 inches high. This will ensure your lawn has a deeper root system.
  • Keep grass clippings on the lawn – they act like mulch to keep moister in and send nutrients back into your soil.

Don’t Forget Your Trees

It’s important to remember that trees have different watering needs than your lawn. Here are some helpful tips from Salt Lake City Urban Forestry (PDF). Also check out their list of Water Wise Trees (PDF).

Conserve Indoors

tapWaterWEBConserving water doesn’t stop outside! Here are some tips for water conservation indoors:

  • Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
  • Set your washing machine to the appropriate load size.
  • Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth, shaving or lathering your hands.
  • Store a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for drinking so you don’t have to let the faucet run for cold water.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a trash can (NEVER flush medications down the toilet!)

More tips from Salt Lake City’s Water Conservation program.

Landscape

  • Tips for a water wise landscape program:
    1. Analysis, Planning and Design. 
    2. Soil Improvement. Soil amendment helps correct poor water infiltration, percolation and drainage. Common amendments include compost, decomposed leaves or pine druff, manures or utelite.
    3. Efficient Irrigation. Match the amount of water supplied to your plant’s needs, group plants together according to their water needs. Turf should be irrigated separately.
    4. Limit Turf Areas. 
    5. Use Mulch. Mulch buffers soils against climate extremes.
    6. Use Low Water Demand Plants. 
    7. Maintain. Your garden will require extra maintenance before your plants fill in and establish themselves. Once that happens, demands decrease, plants require less water and weeds are crowded out.
  • Learn more about this process and access a list of Water Wise plants from Salt Lake City Public Utilities Water Conservation program.