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Blog > Summer

After the Storm - What To Do Next

Here comes the rain againHow's everybody doing today? Anybody see any talking lions, scarecrows, tin men or flying monkeys?

Last night we got some wicked hail here in the Twin Cities - in Eagan, we got over 1" of rain and after the hail stopped, most of the ground was completely white. This morning, I still had a pile of hail on the deck that hadn't melted, yet. Today, it was time to clean up.

Check for impending danger!

If you have trees or overhead power lines near your property, make sure you start by looking up. There may still be branches that haven't fallen completely and could land on you, a family member or a neighbor. Or, a tree trunk may be split and it will only be a matter of time before it topples over. Clear the area of any potential danger before proceeding with any other clean up effort.

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Blue is the New Green

BlueThumb.orgRecently, I attended a seminar on planting for clean water presented by the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (Dakota County SWCD), Blue Thumb and the city of Eagan. Living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and truly enjoying sitting on our deck looking out over a man-made pond each summer, we have a vested interest in how we plan and care for water management in our yards.

Just counting those with a surface area of an acre or more, there are about 200 natural lakes and wetlands in Eagan, and almost all are part of a stormwater drainage system. Adding in the man-made waterbodies, there are over 1,200. The stormwater management area shared with my neighbors "across the pond' is much smaller than that, but it supports quite a bit of wildlife. From the time the ice is out (nice and early this year) until it freezes over again in December, we watch for the returning ducks and mergansers to hatch new generations of their families, listen for the frogs to start their springtime serenades (a couple just started last night), and we smile when the turtles wake up and start sunning themselves on the big rock again.

You may not have a waterbody on your property like we do, but chances are, you enjoy time at a lake or on a river - Minnesota has the highest percentage of people vacationing in the state where they live. You've also got a roof over your heads, rain gutters and downspouts to divert water away from your foundation, a driveway, sidewalks and probably a little bit of lawn. Everyone of those contributes to runoff and adds to the stormwater management system. If we don't do a better job of restoring some of the native plantings that used to handle rainfall, more of our waterbodies will be turning green instead of blue.

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5 Myths About Watering and Irrigation

Water dropAfter a rather wet spring, we've had record high temperatures, coupled with an extended dry spell. To be honest, I do have an irrigation system in my yard, but it was installed before we moved in and I constantly struggle with the placement of the sprinklers, the grouping of the sprinklers and the overall installation. Be that as it may, this is about some of the misconceptions about watering and how to best care for your landscape

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Cutting Down on Yard Care

Lawn turf grassI just finished cutting our lawn and having a look around the yard. This year has been tough on a lot of the landscape - trees all around the city are showing signs of stress, lawns are browning in areas, crabgrass is running rampant, among other things. As much as I like the look of a freshly cut lawn, I know the impact maintaining it has on the environment. I've had some passionate discussions about this with friends and associates also in the landscaping industry - I'd like to thank them for all they do and contribute to making our little corner of the world a better place to live in.

I shared a little math exercise a few posts back and I'd like to add a few more things to that equation. Not only do our lawns require water to stay green, we also have other inputs to keeping our lawns looking good. For most of us, that means getting out the lawn mower every week and giving it a nice even trim. Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year. That might have an impact on the economy and environment, don't you think? The EPA has put into effect stricter requirements for small engine emissions, but the average walk-behind mower produces 11 times more pollutants per hour than an automobile. Seems like we shoud be a bit more environmentally friendly with our lawn care, shouldn't we?

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But if I Don't Water, the Green Turns to Brown!

OK, so I was a little drastic in my last post about watering and a follow-up is needed. The point I was trying to get across is that we don't always measure the impact of our actions, and we should be conscious of them. There are drastic consequences if we don't - just do a little research on the impact of the Babylonian irrigation system and on the San Joaquin Valley salinization to see the impact of irrigation without regard to the future. There are also parts of the world where clean water is in scarce supply, threatening the survival of the people living there.

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