Keep your lawn green while the summer turns red hot!

grassSpring was unbelievably rainy here in Cleveland.  It certainly provided us with some beautifully lush green lawns… but now it’s summer and, oh, how the tides do change…

There hasn’t been much rain lately and now I’m cringing as our neighbors run their sprinklers for hours on end in the middle of the day!  Sheesh… what are they thinking?

There are some very simple and very green ways to keep your yard looking green too.  Here are five of the simplest of simple tips to help you:

  • Watering – ummm, yea.  Middle of the day… not so wise!  Much of the water evaporates before it ever reaches the roots.  Lawns only need an inch of water per week so this means about ONCE a week without the help of Mother Nature’s rain.  If Mother Nature is helping, don’t turn on that sprinkler! Plus, too many shallow waterings will bring roots to the surface and burn out the lawn even faster.  If you must water, early morning or evening is best.  Don’t forget that you can put your greywater to work too!
  • Mowing – don’t mow in the heat of the day either.  Cut grass loses moisture rapidly and (again!) can cause the lawn to burn out even faster, so yes… early morning or evening again!grss mow
  • No “low mow” – the optimal length is 3”, so don’t over-mow or mow too short.  Taller grass grows a deeper root system, grows slower, requires less water and helps prevent weeds.
  • Mulch it – mulching mowers actually cut grass and chop it so it can act as mulch to hold moisture (but if you don’t have a mulching mower, consider composting the clippings).
  • Water wisely – it won’t make your lawn greener but again, if you must water, actually water the lawn, NOT sidewalks and drives! Just pay close attention not to water wildly and prevent waste.

See… simple!  The mercury may rise, the rain may stay away, but the grass can be greener on your side of the fence too!

Simple tip: The greenest way to wash your car

car wsh kdzLike many parts of the country, my “neck of the woods” has been serving up some pretty rainy weather.  Doing much outside has been an anomaly, unless you’re a duck or enjoy ankle-deep mud. (Me?  Not a duck.  Don’t like mud.)

Add to that the street construction around my neighbor and, as a result, my car is filthy… constantly.  My kids happen to love helping to wash the car but not when it’s 45 degrees and raining.  Despite it all, I still need to get the road gunk off the car!

Have you ever wondered about the greenest way to wash your car? Well, much to my kids’ dismay, a commercial car wash is actually the greenest choice.

Commercial car washes use about 60% less water than do-it-yourself methods.  (And for my family, when you car wshadd all of the additional time spraying each other with the hose… well, that percentage is probably higher!) They’re also required to treat and filter the water before they release it into the environment… another big bonus.  And, if you wash at home (and don’t use eco-friendly cleaners) it just ends up going directly into the environment.

Next time your car is in need of a good washin’, don’t sweat it.  Drive through a commercial car wash and recognize that you’re NOT being lazy… you’re getting your car squeaky clean and keeping it squeaky “green”!

Could your toilet be wasting 500 GALLONS of water a day?

toil $Sound crazy? It sure does, but did you know that one in five toilets actually has an extremely wasteful leak?  And these leaks can waste anywhere from 30 to (yes!) 500 GALLONS of water per day!

You may presume that you would hear the water or see the leak, but this isn’t the case.  It often goes undetected. It can also increase during nighttime hours when less water is being used and the pressure increases.  So while you sleep, your water bill could be drastically rising and you could be wasting crucially important water.

There is a very simple way to know for sure:

  • Just put a few drops of food coloring in the tank.  Wait about 15 to 20 minutes and if color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak, my friend.

I recommend doing this for all toilets in your home as late in the evening as possible.  The problem is often a poorly fitting flapper valve and the solution is simple… just replace it!

I’m still combating my suddenly excessive water bills that started a year ago, but we’ve checked for toilet leaks and they’re not the problem… (back to the battle with the water department!).

While the task doesn’t sound very glamorous, it’s certainly worth testing just to be sure!  That “one in five” may be in your very own home!

Simple tip: What happens to YOUR used motor oil?

mtr oil2As more and more families try to cut costs, more and more families are handling car maintenance at home as opposed to dropping by a local maintenance shop.  The most common task is changing your car’s oil, but… what do YOU do with your used motor oil?

You may have tried to store it in a container and slip it into your trash, unnoticed, but did you know:

A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water!!!

A bit of a disturbing fact!  The next time that temptation strikes, think twice and instead store your used motor oil in a safely sealed container and drop it at a local facility.  Most auto stores and repair shops will accept it, free of charge. And if you need help in locating a facility, simply check out Earth911.com and enter “motor oil” and your zip code.

I assure you, you will have plenty of choices and our fresh water supply won’t take the harmful impact!

Keep your lawn green while the summer heat turns red hot!

grassFortunately we’ve just ended an oppressive heat wave and dry spell here in Cleveland, but I’m happy to say that our lawn held up amazingly well.

Did we water it?  Not once. But I HAVE had to resist the urge to sneak into neighbors’ yards and run a covert operation to turn off their sprinklers that ran for hours on end in the middle of the day!  Sheesh… what are they thinking?

There are some very simple and very green ways to keep your yard looking green too.  Here are five of the simplest of simple tips to help you:

  • Watering – ummm, yea.  Middle of the day… not so wise!  Much of the water evaporates before it ever reaches the roots.  Lawns only need an inch of water per week so this means about ONCE a week without the help of Mother Nature’s rain.  If Mother Nature is helping, don’t turn on that sprinkler! Plus, too many shallow waterings will bring roots to the surface and burn out the lawn even faster.  If you must water, early morning or evening is best.grss mow
  • Mowing – don’t mow in the heat of the day either.  Cut grass loses moisture rapidly and (again!) can cause the lawn to burn out even faster, so yes… early morning or evening again!
  • No “low mow” – the optimal length is 3”, so don’t over-mow or mow too short.  Taller grass grows a deeper root system, grows slower, requires less water and helps prevent weeds.
  • Mulch it – mulching mowers actually cut grass and chop it so it can act as mulch to hold moisture (but if you don’t have a mulching mower, consider composting the clippings).
  • Water wisely – it won’t make your lawn greener but again, if you must water, actually water the lawn, NOT sidewalks and drives! Just pay close attention not to water wildly and prevent waste.

See… simple!  The mercury may rise, the rain may stay away, but the grass can be greener on your side of the fence too!