Start a compost pile in time for Earth Day

Here’s a link to an excellent “How-To” for composting by Susan Donaldson at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extention. » Link to article

Here’s the breakdown. I highly recommend reading the article if you’re thinking about starting to compost at your home.

  • Site. Pick a level, well-drained site…
  • Pile size. Make compost piles at least one cubic yard…
  • Ingredients. Start by creating a series of layers…
  • Particle size. The size of the materials you add to your compost pile plays a role in how fast the material breaks down…
  • Water. This is often our biggest barrier to effective composting in Nevada…
  • Mixing. Once the pile is built, it should begin composting quickly…
  • Curing. The pile should stay hot for several weeks to two months…

Susan Donaldson is water quality and weed specialist for the western area of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. This is the 10th in a series of articles from University of Nevada Cooperative Extension on starting your own vegetable garden. Previous articles have explored such topics as site selection, ordering seeds, preparing your soil and starting seeds indoors.

To find the complete series of articles, go to www.unce.unr.edu/resources/horticulture/growyourown.

Garden clean-up in fall pays off in the spring

If you’re tired of outdoor chores, it’s tempting to walk away from the garden with a plan to clean it up next spring. But if you want a great veggie garden next year, you’ll be wise to take advantage of this warm weekend by doing some fall clean-up.

Why can’t you just wait until spring? Leaving leaves and debris in the garden gives diseases, fungus and pests a nice place overwinter and come back with a vengeance next spring. A garden that goes to sleep all cleaned up for the winter will wake up healthier in the springtime. There will also be less need to treat for pests and disease.

Need help with fall landscape chores? Contacting a landscape clean up pros at Signature Landscapes is as easy as clicking on our service request form, or calling (775) 857-4333.

Take these steps before you begin the clean-up:

  • Harvest root crops like carrots or potatoes that are still in the ground.
  • Make a sketch of this year’s garden, before removing any plant debris, that shows what was planted where. Having a sketch of this year’s garden will help you rotate placement of next season’s crops – like tomatoes – that do best when not grown in the same place each year.
  • Plant herbs, that will not overwinter outdoors, in containers to bring inside.

Tips for the clean-up

  • Remove all old veggies, vines, leaves and other debris from the garden. If leaves from trees blow in, keep them cleaned up as well. All of this decaying plant material makes a nice winter home for insects and disease.
  • Remove the weeds, too.
  • Most greens, leaves and small plants are fine to pitch in the compost pile. But leave out the weeds whose seeds will get back in the garden when you spread the compost. Also leave out tomato plants as they often carry disease, and large-stemmed vines such as pumpkin as they take too long to decompose.

When the garden is clean, do one last chore that will pay off next spring: work compost into the soil. You can also add straw mulch or grass clippings as mulch on top. Now your garden is nicely tucked in for its long winter’s nap.

 

Free Dump Days: October 6th and 7th 2012

“Residential Dump Days”
Offers Reduced Rates and Free Select Dumping on October 6 and 7

Waste Management announced today the fourth quarterly “Residential Dump Days” to be held in 2012 at the Waste Management Transfer Stations in Reno. The dates for this event are Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7. Residential Dump Days are held solely at the Transfer Stations in Reno – the Lockwood Landfill is closed on weekends.

The reduced dump rates accompanied by free dumping for specific items during Residential Dump Days is the result of a partnership between Waste Management and Washoe County government including our partner in beauty.. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. This program helps residents clean up their homes and our communities, which in turn, decreases the amount of illegal dumping in our area.

Rates

  • Standard pick-up truck with MSW $10.00 flat fee
  • Small pick-up truck with MSW $6.50 flat fee
  • All eligible common household appliances No charge

Appliances &  Bulky Waste

  • Refrigerators (additional charge for Freon recovery)
  • Chairs & Sofas
  • Hot Water Heaters
  • Mattresses  & Box Springs
  • Stoves & Dishwashers
  • Washers & Dryers

Please Note

  1. Lockwood Landfill is closed on Saturdays and Sundays
  2. Electronic Waste/Recycling will NOT be accepted at this event
  3. Hazardous wastes will not be accepted at any time

WM Transfer Station Locations

HOURS:
Saturday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Saturday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Sunday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

1390 E. Commercial Row (click for map)
Reno, NV 89512

13890 Mt. Anderson Road (click for map)
Reno, NV 89506

HAN Volunteer

Hot August Nights volunteers

Save up to $40 on our Fall Turf Services Combo 

Don’t wait, orders for our fall combo special are filing up. Get on the schedule early to guarantee service. Enjoy professional lawn aeration and fertilizer for one low price!

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Trees are people too!

Drip Line IllustrationSometimes we take our trees for granted because they are always there and don’t turn brown as fast as a heat-stressed lawn. We forget that they, too, can be water-deprived. Right now, your tree needs to soak up water–and nutrients–to survive the dormant season.

So how do you help your trees?

Water them now and water once per month through October. Use a deep root watering device that attaches to a garden hose and soak the soil 6 to 8 inches deep.

To know where to water, draw an imaginary circle of where the outermost branches extend over the ground.  That circle is called the drip line of the tree.  Water at various points within this drip line.  Be sure to probe and water some points that are closer and some points that farther away from the trunk as you move around the tree.

Fertilize?  The deep-root watering device can also deliver fertilizer while you water.  But wait until about Labor Day to add fertilizer.  Look specifically for a fall blend that has the micro-nutrients that are beneficial for the fall fertilization.

Remember, Signature Landscapes has two skilled and knowledgeable ISA Certified arborists on staff to help you with your tree questions. Call us at (775) 857-4333 and we’ll work to keep your gentle giants happy, healthy and ready for the coming winter.

Heat stress on your lawn

Just like any other living creature in Northern Nevada, your lawn can suffer serious heat stress symptoms. Caused by high heat and lack of rainfall, dry summers and lack of humidity, we’re seeing heat stress is really take a toll on our local lawns.

Consistent watering is one of the most important practices in taking care of your lawn right now. 

 But be alert – temperatures over ninety degrees day after day can cause a slowdown in grass growth. With our low humidity, the blades of grass can experience a daytime wilt which can cause a loss of color normally associated with a healthy lawn. But don’t stress yourself…this does not necessarily mean the lawn is dying or in serious trouble.

Your grass is comprised of 80% water. High heat and low humidity takes some of this away, even with good watering practices – hence the wilting. But properly watered lawns will recover much more quickly than a drought stressed yard when the longer nights and cooler days return.

Water at least 2 to 2 1/2 inches per week. One inch of water should re-wet the soil about 6 inches deep. To determine how much water has been applied, set a straight-sided can under the sprinkler.

And remember, without adequate water, your heat stressed lawn will quickly turn into drought stressed lawn.

In a drought stressed lawn, grass soon turns brown and becomes dormant. An early clue to drought stress is when grassy areas show a dark bluish-green cast. Begin applying water when the soil starts to dry out and before the grass wilts and has a chance to become brown.

A word of caution about limited watering: A single watering during a high heat and/or drought period is likely to do more harm than good. If the grass cannot be kept actively growing with sufficient water, it is best to let the grass go dormant. Inconsistent or “light” watering during extended dry periods will slow the rate of recovery when adequate rainfall does occur. Bluegrass is very resilient and will come out of the heat and drought quickly as long as it is properly cared for and steps are taken to keep insects and weeds out of the stressed or dormant areas of the lawn.

Some things you can do when water restrictions prevent you from watering as much as the lawn really needs:

  1. Make sure your irrigation timer/clock is set to provide all the water your grass needs this month.
  2. Water only that part of the lawn where improvement is most important.
  3. Use a sharp mower blade; the cleaner the cut the less water the grass blades will lose out of the injury done by the cutting.
  4. Mow regularly until growth slows, but at a higher (rather than lower) cutting height.
  5. Make each watering consistent and make sure enough water is being applied to moisten soil to a good depth.
  6. Remember, with our losw humidity, a ten minute watering of most sprinkler systems will not likely get enough water into the soil. This will force the roots to go shallow and weaken the lawn’s resistance to heat stress and drought stress/damage.

If you have questions about your irrigation timer, how to propertly adjust for this high heat, don’t hesitate to call us. Our PLANET Certified Irrigation Technicians can quickly help get your lawn’s watering needs on track.

Call Signature Landscapes at 827-5296 and we’ll come out immediately!

Reno sells firewood to general public

Did you know… Reno Urban Forestry sells firewood to the general public twice each year. During the months of September and March, the wood yard located at 190 Telegraph is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for wood cutting.

The wood, which includes mixed hardwoods, is in log form and requires people to saw their own rounds for splitting.

The cost for the firewood is $75 per cord. Customers must first sign a waiver of liability and pay in advance in order to enter the wood yard. Waivers can be obtained at the Park Maintenance Office, 2055 Idlewild Drive, in Idlewild Park. Office hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Defensible space: Your first line of defense

Defensible Space Treatments

Defensible space treatments are an essential first line of defense for residential structures. The goal of the treatments is to significantly reduce or remove flammable vegetation within a prescribed distance from structures.

Defensible space reduces the fire intensity and improves firefighter and homeowner chances for successfully defending a structure against oncoming wildfire.

NOTE: This information is taken from the www.livingwithfire.info, an incredibly helpful tool for the community during this hot fire season. Please visit this link, send to your friends, and take efforts to learn more about how to make your property fire-safe this year.

 

Fire slowly moving in Mt. Rose corridor

Property Owner Recommendations

  • Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation to create defensible space around homes according to the guidelines in the Defensible Space Guidelines fact sheet.
    (Download the Defensible Space Guidelines fact sheet for Washoe County)
    This area should be kept:

    • Lean: There are only small amount of flammable vegetation.
    • Clean: There is no accumulation of dead vegetation or other flammable debris.
    • Green: Existing plants are healthy and green during the fire season.
  • Store firewood a minimum distance of thirty feet from structures.
  • Mow or remove brush growing against fences in the community. The minimum distance for clearance should be ten feet in grass and 25 feet in brush.
  • Enclose areas under wood decks and porches when possible or maintain these areas to be free of weeds and other flammable debris. Box in eves and cover ventilation openings with very fine metal wire mesh to prevent embers from entering the attic and crawl spaces.
  • Clear all vegetation and combustible materials around propane tanks for a minimum of ten feet.
  • Clear weeds and brush to a width of ten feet along both sides of the driveways.
  • Maintain a minimum clearance of thirty feet from the crown of trees that remain within the defensible space zone. Keep this area free of smaller trees, shrubs, and other ladder fuels.
  • Trim and remove tree branches a minimum of fifteen feet from the ground, but not more than one-third the tree height, to reduce ladder fuels on all deciduous and coniferous trees within the defensible space zone. Prune all dead and diseased branches.
  • Prune all tree branches to a minimum distance of fifteen feet from buildings, paying special attention around chimneys.
  • Mow grass within the defensible space zone to maintain a maximum height of four inches.
  • Thin sagebrush and other shrubs to a spacing between shrubs that is equal to twice the shrub height.
  • Immediately dispose of cleared vegetation when implementing defensible space treatments. This material dries quickly and poses a fire hazard if left on site.
  • Where possible, irrigate all trees and large shrubs that remain in close proximity to structures to increase their fire resiliency. This is especially important during drought conditions.
  • Maintain the defensible space as needed.
  • Replace wood shake roofs with fire resistant roofing materials.

 

Visit the LivingWithFire.info Learning Center

This LivingWithFire.info Learning Center includes a wide array of educational materials and links to other useful resources to help you learn how to reduce the wildfire threat to your family, home and community. Most of the materials were prepared by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension faculty and have been peer reviewed to ensure relevance and accuracy. Topics range from pre-fire activities such as creating defensible space, to advice on safe evacuation practices, to what to do when returning home after a wildfire. These materials are available in written, interactive and video formats, with some available in Spanish, allowing you to use the format that works best for you.

Northern Nevada Drought – Things you should know as you program your irrigation clocks

It’s a warm, dry spring and we’ve known for months the Truckee Meadows is in for a very dry summer.

So…other than an extremely elevated FIRE season, what does this mean for all of us who have a front lawn to mow, veggie seeds in the ground and a some trees to offer cools shade on the hot side of the house?  Can we tend to our plants and still save water?

Lawn watering tip for now through mid-June:  After watering the grass, let the top 1/2″ of the soil dry out before watering again.  This is when the roots are growing deep to seek water in the soil.  By letting that top 1/2″ dry out, you’re building a more healthy, drought tolerant lawn.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. While landscapes do take water, they also give back. Landscaping is part of our eco-system that cleans the air, shades buildings, mitigates pollution in both the air and storm water, produces food and cools the urban environment. Landscapes give back to us much more than they take.
  2. Water-deprived landscapes become unhealthy ones that are susceptible to weeds and disease. Even in dry times, we need to protect the long-term value of our landscapes while conserving water. LOW water does not mean NO water. We simply need to water responsibly.
  3. Now is the time to get busy and do the things that save water–like simple, budget-friendly upgrades to the sprinkler system.  Irrigation clocks/timers/controllers are terribly sophisticated these days – and the price on the good ones are surprisingly affordable. Plus they’re very user friendly!

Remember Xeriscapes from years gone by?  Now a globally-known concept, it was invented in Colorado about 30 years ago and its principles apply today.  Xeriscape isn’t a “look” or a specific kind of landscape, rather, it’s a whole system that starts in the soil and ends with a rich plant palette and vibrant healthy landscape.

What it looks like in your yard is up to personal preference and individual interpretation that comes about with a good design.  If you’re planning to renovate or installing a new landscape this year, check out what Xeriscape really means, because that vision of rocks and yucca plants is nothing more than pure urban legend!

Call our Landscape Design Center at (775) 857-4333 and schedule a free consultation to help visualize how a water-smart landscape could actually save you money while looking the best on the block.

Plus, all new landscapes qualify for our 180-Days Same-As-Cash landscape and paver program. So you can take your own sweet time to pay a landscape to last you and your family a lifetime.

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