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Cool Ways To Help Your Dog Beat The Heat

Keeping your pet cool and properly hydrated in the scorching heat of summer of Colorado is essential but it may be difficult in case you do not follow the proper methods. This blog highlights some easy-to-follow methods/ steps that will help people keep their pets cool and comfortable.

Is your dog suffering in the heat?

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Use Smart Irrigation To Beat The Heat

For the 6th consecutive year, Governor Hickenlooper has declared July as Smart Irrigation Month in Colorado. This is a timely designation for our hottest month of the year – and especially so this year when soaring temps are breaking records.

Here are compelling nation-wide stats about water use and how you can save water while keeping plants healthy through smart irrigation practices:

Use smart irrigation to beat the heat
Infographic courtesy Irrigation Association

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Have You Heard of Tularemia?

tularemiaHome gardeners and landscape workers have all noticed the surging rabbit population this year. Whatever the cause, bunnies seem to be everywhere and the rodent-born infection know as tularemia is making news. 

Jefferson County Public Health recently reported a dead rabbit infected with the disease and this week, Larimer County confirmed a human case of tularemia. The cause was linked to gardening at home.

Admittedly, these instances may be rare and we hope they are. Nevertheless, in a season with so many rabbits hopping around our yards, the wise move is to be aware of a potential health threat and take precautions you feel are in order.

What are the risks?

  • The bacteria are often carried by small rodents such as rabbits, rats and beaver, but warm-blooded animals including pets and livestock, and humans are also susceptible to infection.
  • The infection is often spread through bites from infected insects such as ticks and deer flies.
  • The urine and droppings of infected animals can survive in soil for weeks and spread to humans through gardening activities or inhaling dust.
  • Touching an infected dead animal without proper protection can also lead to infection.

Symptoms

Symptoms may vary according to where on the body the person became infected. Fever, non-healing skin and swollen and painful lymph nodes are among them. Others include sore throat, mouth sores, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Inhaled bacteria may cause pneumonia and related symptoms.

Antibiotics are effective in treating the infection with best results when treated as soon as possible. Without treatment, hospitalization or death may result.

Precautions

  • Avoid attracting rabbits and other rodents into your yard or patio by providing food and try to eliminate places where they can live or hide.
  • Avoid contact with all sick or dead animals and report them to the local health department.
  • Notice any changes in pet behavior and consult a veterinarian. To avoid infecting yourself, do not handle pets that are acting unusual without gloves and face protection.
  • When gardening or doing other outdoor activities, wear clothing that covers arms and legs. Jefferson County Public Health recommends applying insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin and insect repellent containing permethrin to clothing.
  • If you become ill 3 to 5 days after an outdoor activity, see your doctor.

For more information on tularemia in your area and recommended precautions, consult your local health department’s website.

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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

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