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Spring Yard Care

By Lindsay Wochnick

  

Spring is here, and it’s time to get your outdoor spaces ready for summer!

Here are a few tips that will help you save water and enjoy your yard to the fullest.

The Lawn

We’ve had the perfect mix of sun and rain this spring to grow grass. But how often and how low should we mow? While the ideal mowing height depends on what kind of grass you have, a good rule of thumb is to always maintain 2/3 of the original height of the grass. Mowing frequently, (about once a week) and just cutting a little each time can encourage robust root development.  Better roots = less water and maintenance.  Another benefit from consistent mowing is that you don’t need to pick up the clippings!  In fact, these clippings serve as a great source of nutrients for the plants. 

The Garden

Good gardens start with great soil. Make sure you have a good mix of organic matter in your soil. In a raised bed, plan to incorporate 2-3 inches of organic material.  Supplementing your soil with compost or other organic material increases the amount of water your soil can hold and then release to your plants.  What do we mean by “organic matter?”  Some examples of organic matter include:  bark mulch, cured manure, grass or wheat straw, and compost. You can make your own compost or purchase compost mixtures at local garden stores.  Once your soil is ready, you can start planting!  Check out Portland Nursery’s Veggie Calendar to see what can be planted in April.

The Watering

Grass, shrubs, and vegetable gardens have different watering needs. Spring is a great time to research your watering options. Consider drip systems or soaker hoses for perennial and vegetable plantings.  If you have an automatic irrigation system check out our rebates for WaterSense® labeled controllers and multistream rotating nozzles.  Take the guesswork out of predicting the needs of your plants by signing up for the Weekly Watering Number, a service provided by our partners at the Regional Water Providers Consortium which gives you the amount of water (in inches) your lawn will need each week.  It takes into account local weather according to your zip code. Visit http://www.conserveh2o.org to see how much water your lawn needs today!   

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