Straight from the Tap

Tips for a Healthy Yard

04/15/2015

As yards begin to thaw and the flowers begin to bloom, you are probably ready to welcome spring.  However, along with spring comes the responsibility of examining homes and yards for any signs of damage from the harsh winter. First and foremost, inspect your home for any leaks in the foundation, roof and outside windows.  You will also want to inspect your air conditioner and remember to have it serviced so it is ready for the grueling summer months. Once all of this is done, then the fun begins!

Below are some tips for getting your yard and garden ready to enjoy:

Tools: 

1. Check outside faucet(s) for any leaks. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and may need to be replaced.

2. Turn on your sprinkling system and check the heads to make sure there are no leaks.

Lawn:

1. Remove debris such as leaves and sticks. Then, use a metal rake to clean away any dead roots and grass in order to prepare the ground for mowing, watering and planting seeds. You may also want to consider aerating and then watering your lawn to allow for the grass to breathe better and soil to easily soak up moisture.

2. If you are going to plant new grass, remember to smooth out and level the area prior to planting the seeds.  Add new topsoil and eco-friendly fertilizer to the area to help the new grass grow. Once the seeds are worked into the soil, cover them with straw to keep the seeds from blowing or washing away with the rain.

3. Finally, make sure to water the area. You should give it a good initial watering so that the seeds better penetrate the soil.

Garden:

1. Begin by leveling and mulching the garden beds with fresh, rich soil. You may want to consider placing barrier paper or other eco-friendly paper down to protect your garden from pests and weeds.

2. Test the soil by grabbing a handful. If it falls apart easily, then it is ready for planting. You can begin with planting some common spring crops such as peas, lettuce, spinach and potatoes.

3. Install water butts or rain barrels to harvest water. These can help your garden thrive by collecting and storing excess rain water. Click here to learn more about rain barrels: (http://www.clevelandwpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Rainbarrelhandout2012.pdf)

4. Consider using a garden planner to map out your garden ahead of time. Garden planners typically help with garden design, plant placement, crop rotations and overall garden management.

Watering:

1. A healthy plant is 75 to 90 percent water! Adequate water is especially critical during the first few weeks of growth while plants are building their root systems and getting established.

2. When watering individual plants or plants in a container, it’s better to use a watering wand rather than a sprayer nozzle. Wands have a breaker that releases soft, gentle streams of water which won’t wash away dirt or nutrients.

3. Never water during a hot afternoon because the extreme heat evaporates the water quickly.  The best time to water is during the early morning or late evening hours.

4. The ideal amount of water required for plants and gardens is about an inch of water per week.  This varies depending on prolonged dry periods.

5. Always remember to water thoroughly which means long enough for moisture to penetrate the top five or six inches of soil to make sure you reach the roots.

6. When planting perennials, trees or shrubs, dig a hole and fill it with water to allow moisture to be absorbed into the soil. Then, place the plant in the hole and water again.

7. When watering your plants, be careful to keep chemical fertilizers and debris away from storm drains. They can pollute and clog our local lakes and streams, damaging the environment.  For more useful tips on stormwater management visit Water Pollution Control’s page below:

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