How'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.
Walk around your yard and deal with the big stuff - if there is a fallen tree or large limbs, get help clearing it. Pick up sticks and debris and get them out of the way.
If some of the branches are broken, but not completely off your tree or shrub, it is best to cleanly remove them with a pruning shears. This will prevent further damage to your beloved plant.
Hardscapes are next
Whether you live near water or not, runoff from roofs, driveways, and sidewalks flows out into the street and down the storm drains. The storm drain system is designed to handle water, not debris, plus all that organic material flowing into retention ponds, lakes and stream turns them a nice shade of green. The additional organic material starts to break down, robbing the water ecosystem of light and oxygen. Better water quality starts with keeping it free of plant material - grass clippings and leaf drop contribute to huge declines in water quality.
You can collect the leaves and bring them to the compost facility in your area, compost them yourself or blow them on to the lawn for the next step. In Eagan, you can bring your yard waste to Gertens R.E.S (Regional Eco-Service) facility on Yankee Doodle Road.
Shred the details
Just like I do in the fall, I got out the lawn mower and shredded up the leaves and small twigs on the lawn. No need for raking and it is better for the lawn. If left alone, the leaves would block sunlight, trap moisture and just look messy. After they are mulched down by the mower, they'll break down more quickly, providing nutrients to the soil, the lawn will get sunlight and not get smothered.
Plan for next time
This won't be the last time we get a bunch of rain in a short period of time, nor will it be the last time we get hail. As you examine the impact on your yard, see how you might need to adjust. These torrential downpours will highlight areas where you need to manage runoff - did areas get washed out? was there standing water in other areas? are there trees showing signs of weakening? Talking with a landscape and gardening professional can give you ideas of what you can do and what you might need help with.
Weather forecast for this weekend? Looking fantastic! Perfect for the weddings coming up and any outdoor projects you've got before school starts.
There's no place like home!