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Avoid Wasting Colorado’s #1 Resource

sprinkler system

Your sprinkler system could be operating under too much pressure–the No. 1 culprit when it comes to wasting water. Plants will not receive adequate water and you could waste thousands of gallons of water in just one growing season. That’s your money down the drain.

Many homes are in areas with high or fluctuating water pressure and using the right sprinkler heads can solve these pressure problems. In industry jargon, they are “pressure regulating devices” and ideally, these are the sprinkler heads already in your irrigation system. They are available from leading manufacturers such as Hunter, Rain Bird and Toro.

What does too much pressure look like?

If you look at sprinklers when they are running and water appears to be misting or fogging, you have too much pressure. The sound is like the hissing you hear when you pull a nail out of a tire.

With too much pressure, you could be over-delivering 1 gallon of water from every sprinkler head for every minute it operates all season long. When you do the math, that could add up to hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water.

From a plant health point of view, water that comes out of the sprinklers misting or fogging won’t be delivered efficiently to the root zone of the plants. Rather than falling straight down, water evaporates or is blown away in the breeze. Some plants will be over-watered and others under-watered.

If you are installing a new sprinkler system or upgrading an existing one, make sure the sprinkler heads are the pressure reducing variety. They do cost more on the front-end, but they will keep you from sending water you’re paying for down the drain.

EPA_WaterSenseIcon-PRS

Look for products that show the EPA Water Sense label and check with your water provider to see if it offers rebates on purchases of this water-saving technology.

At the end of the day, water that is not pressure regulated wastes water, wastes your money and does an inferior job of keeping your plants healthy. Implementing smart irrigation technology with pressure reducing sprinkler heads removes these wastes.

 

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Why It’s Cool To Go Native

Columbine flower

                         Columbine

We have so many plant choices in Colorado, it’s easy to lose track of plants that have always grown here. Yet, there are good reasons to have a few native plants growing in our yards.

The No. 1 reason to plant natives is that Colorado is NOT an easy place to grow plants. We have wild temperature swings, hard freezes, a dry climate and harsh winters. We can and do grow non-natives here, but non-natives can take more work, develop diseases that require us to buy expensive treatments and most important, they often need more water.

Natives are the plants that occur naturally in our region and they have a natural relationship with our ecosystem and wildlife. Some species like Monarch butterflies deposit their eggs on only one kind of plant – milkweed. Others aren’t quite so picky, but still prefer certain plants for their eggs. Without the plants they need to lay their eggs, we won’t have the food source of those emerging caterpillars and insects that feed 96% of our songbirds.

One of the best examples of a native plant is our state flower – the Colorado Columbine. As dainty as it looks, you would never expect it grows in our harsh growing conditions. Yet it is one of our prettiest natives.

YARROW FLOWER

              Yarrlow

Use other flowering perennials to dress up your yard and don’t be afraid to cut them for bouquets. Yarrow, for example, provides great color outdoors, can be used as a cut flower – and even dried for fall arrangements.

When we add more natives in our yards, we’re being Colorado-friendly, have less maintenance to do – and we save water.

 

 

 

 

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Avoid Over-Reacting In a Heat Wave

Maintaining a lush-green and healthy lawn during the hot and dry summer days is quite a tough task. This blog guides readers to take care of the looks and health of their lawns and prevent discolouration of grass in the scorching heat of the summer. » Read More

Pretty Plants That Don’t Guzzle Water

lantana flower

In Colorado, we love our landscapes and we are spending more time outdoors where we can enjoy them. With so much of our state in drought conditions and under water restrictions, we are reminded we need to look for plants that are easy to grow, can handle summer heat – and don’t need a lot of water.

If you are looking for more water-wise ideas for what to plant this year, here are some plants you might want to bring home to your yard.

Annuals for patios and porches

Our porches and patios don’t seem complete without a container or two of annual flowers. Group plants in a few large containers rather than many small ones. The bigger the container, the bigger the soil volume and that means you won’t need to water as often.

Place a large saucer under the container. It will not only protect wood decks from water damage, but collect water that runs through the container to be absorbed by the plant later.

Next, slow down evaporation by adding mulch to containers just as you would in bed areas. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture longer, meaning you need to water less often.

Top suggestions for low-water annuals include:

Lantana (pictured), Portulaca (moss rose), low water varieties of Verbena and our standby seasonal flower, Petunia. All offer instant impact in a wide variety of colors. Annuals need a week or two with a little more water to get established, and thereafter, only about ½ to ¾ inch of water per week based on the weather.

Perennials

Perennials groupsWater-wise perennials need more water during their first growing season to become established, but in following growing seasons require much less water. All the hardy, low-water plants listed below offer color and interest in the landscape and have low water needs once established.

 

  • Oenothera Silver Blade – Evening primrose
  • Sedum Blue Spruce
  • Berlandiera Chocolate Flower
  • Gaillardian Goblin – Blanket flower
  • Salvia Blue Bill – Meadow sage
  • May Night Meadow Sage
  • Wild Thing Rose
  • Perovskia Blue Steel

If you’re not familiar with these varieties, take the list to the garden center or do a quick Google search by name to see photos and learn more about each plant.

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Heads-Up On Lawn Problems This Year

Many property owners are wondering if their lawns just didn’t wake up this spring from their long winter nap – and many lawns did not. Patches of dead lawn are prevalent along the Front Range due to turf mites. 

Heads-up on lawn problems this year

They thrive in dry turf conditions and consequently, are a major problem this year due to lack of winter snow cover and moisture. Lawns that did not receive supplemental water over the winter probably suffered more.

Most of the mite damage has been done by now. If the lawn is damaged, it’s not too late to hand water damaged areas to kill any mites that remain. But if areas of the lawn are dead, they will need to be replaced.

Other potential lawn problems are just ahead. Be aware of them so if your grass turns to straw, you don’t apply more water and make the problem worse.

Ascochyta Leaf Blight

If your lawn suddenly looks “dead,” suspect Ascochyta Leaf Blight. Infected lawns turn straw-colored and this can happen quickly, almost overnight. Our spring conditions could open the door to this turf problem.

Ascochyta occurs when we move quickly from cool, rainy periods to the very warm temps like those in the forecast for next week. While lawns look unsightly, the good news is the roots are rarely threatened and extra TLC can help restore the lawn.

Since wet conditions drive the blight, it is critical to avoid over watering. Make sure the lawnmower blade is sharp as dull blades damage the lawn leaf. Reduce mowing frequency and raise low mower settings to a height of 3 to 3 ½ inches. With proper care and lack of excessive moisture, the lawn should recover within a couple weeks.

Frog eye

Frog eye

Another common and more serious turf problem is “frog eye” or Necrotic Ring Spot (NRS). You may see it in early summer, but it will be most prevalent in July and August when lawns are usually the most stressed. NRS creates circular, doughnut-like patches in the lawn. Because it is a perennial fungus problem that also attacks roots, it is more difficult to manage and can be an ongoing threat.

When people see the brown patches in their lawn, they almost instinctively water the lawn more. This is, however, the worst thing to do as over-watering aggravates the problem.

What you should do:

  • Set the mower height to at least 3 inches, avoid cutting off more than 1/3 of grass length at one time and grass cycle clippings on the lawn with a mulching mower.
  • Cut back on fertilizer and provide the highest application of Nitrogen in a slow release form in the fall.
  • Aerate in the spring.
  • Get professional input, particularly if you consider applying a fungicide. Timing is critical and other considerations also apply.

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Info To Know Before You Mow

Maintenance of your lawn requires periodic mowing and trimming that an expert or you can do easily taking suitable precautionary measures. This blog guides readers about the safety tips and other reminders, which will facilitate them, get the best results and long-lasting performance from their mowing equipment.

Best Aurora Mowing Services

Light Pollution Hurts More Than The View

Light pollution is damaging to the ecosystem as it reduces the number of nocturnal pollinators thereby making a significant impact on agricultural productivity. This blog highlights the importance of reducing light pollution and enumerates important steps to do so for a productive and sustainable ecosystem.

Light pollution hurts more than the view

Go For Diversity!

With the increasing risk of damage to ash trees by Emerald ash borer, it becomes imperative for gardeners and property owners in Colorado to plant a variety of trees in their yards. In this blog Keith Wood, urban and community forest manager for Colorado State Forest Service shares his wisdom with others and highlights the importance of planting trees of various species.

Go for diversity!

Simple Steps To Garden Success

Planting a highly productive veggie garden requires following some basic steps that would help people get an array of benefits from the same. This blog enumerates those important points that can guide gardeners and property owners to plant, maintain and harvest a successful veggie garden.

Simple Steps To Garden Success

Plan Now to Bring in Pollinators

Planting diverse flowering plants— be they annual, perennial, herbs, shrubs and trees at the right time is important to attract pollinators and maintain a suitable habitat for them. This not only helps people make their lawns or veggie gardens rich and refreshing but also provide a plethora of benefits and make gardens an eye candy for all.

Plan now to bring in pollinators

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