Gardening for Better Watersheds in Oregon


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Presentation on best gardener practices for water quality and watershed health. Presented to OSU Master Gardeners in Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop counties, winter, 2010.

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  • Gardening for Better Watersheds in Oregon

    1. 1. Gardening with Healthy Watersheds in Mind Robert Emanuel Water Resources & Community Development Faculty, Clatsop & Tillamook counties
    2. 2. “ We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” --Jacques Cousteau
    3. 3. Where is your garden in the watershed?
    4. 4. In a watershed, every little thing adds up.
    5. 7. Water Conscious Gardening Goals <ul><li>Conserve water & inputs </li></ul><ul><li>Increase permeability of the landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Retain water, soil, and other inputs on site </li></ul>
    6. 8. Conserving Water & Inputs <ul><li>Lower water requirements during dry periods </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce fertilizer applications and rates of application </li></ul><ul><li>Decrease applications of pesticides & herbicides </li></ul>
    7. 10. <ul><li>Low maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Little irrigation all season long </li></ul><ul><li>Plants tolerate the wet but thrive in the dry: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mediterranean spp. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Natives </li></ul></ul> Waterwise Gardening
    8. 11. WaterWise Tips <ul><li>Choose plants that are known to be reliable and problem-free for your area and that won't outgrow the space you are working with. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the size of your lawn or eliminate it entirely. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare the soil well before planting so plants get a strong start. </li></ul><ul><li>Mulch to reduce weeds and conserve soil moisture. </li></ul><ul><li>If you live where watering is a necessity, install an automatic system, possibly drip. </li></ul>
    9. 12. The American Lawn <ul><li>The single largest crop in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Covers the most space in suburban America </li></ul><ul><li>Consumes the most chemical inputs/capita </li></ul><ul><li>Typically consumes the most water in homes </li></ul><ul><li>Costs the most in time, energy, and inputs </li></ul><ul><li>Least attractive to beneficial wildlife </li></ul>
    10. 13. Lawn Solutions <ul><li>Minimize it </li></ul><ul><li>Install where it’s most used </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate it altogether </li></ul>Vegetables Vegetables
    11. 14. “ Grasscycling” <ul><li>Remove bagger </li></ul><ul><li>Mow 1/3 of the height of the grass each time </li></ul><ul><li>Compost what you do rake or bag </li></ul><ul><li>Slow or stop irrigating during the summertime </li></ul><ul><li>Organic lawn fertilizers: fish meal, bone meal, dried blood, animal manures, composted digester sludge, fresh grass clippings </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the benefits of a “climax lawn” </li></ul>
    12. 15. Much Ado About Mulch!
    13. 16. <ul><li>Cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Availability. </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of application. </li></ul><ul><li>Toxicity. </li></ul><ul><li>Contaminants. </li></ul><ul><li>Wettability. </li></ul><ul><li>Air exchange. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in place. </li></ul><ul><li>Color and texture. </li></ul><ul><li>Fire resistance. </li></ul>Characteristics of good mulches Allium karataviense
    14. 17. Weed control + Water Savings = $$ Saved!
    15. 18. Living Mulches <ul><li>Plants must be well established </li></ul><ul><li>Suppress weeds before planting and during fill-in. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for plants that produce a wide canopy </li></ul>Pt. Reyes Ceanothus, ( Ceanothus gloriosus )
    16. 19. Go Native <ul><li>Native plants are hardier for local conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Native plants generally require fewer inputs </li></ul><ul><li>Native plants generally require less summer irrigation </li></ul><ul><li>Native plants replace potential invasives </li></ul><ul><li>Native plants increase wildlife use </li></ul><ul><li>Native plants can be more interesting </li></ul>
    17. 20. Coastal WildStrawberry: Fragraria chiloensis Red Flowering currant: Ribes sanguinium Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens Kinnikinnick: Arctostaphylos columbiana
    18. 21. Western Trilium: Trilium Ovatum
    19. 22. Western Bleeding Heart: Dicentra formosa
    20. 23. False lily-of-the-valley: Maianthemum dilitatum Blue-eyed grass: Sisirynchium occidental Stream Lupine: Lupinus rivularus
    21. 24. Broad-leaved Stonecrop: Sedum spathuliforlium
    22. 25. Camas: 3 species <ul><li>Camassia leichtlinii </li></ul><ul><li>C. quamash </li></ul><ul><li>C. cusickii </li></ul>
    23. 26. Black Twinberry: Lonicera involucrata
    24. 27. Western Azalea : Rhododendron occidentale
    25. 28. Douglas spirea: Spiraea douglasii Ninebark: Physocarpus capitatus
    26. 29. Part of the process of planting in wild areas neighboring your home is appreciating a “wilder” aesthetic --Linda McMahan
    27. 30. Increasing permeability of your landscape <ul><li>Minimize where hard surface is used </li></ul><ul><li>Use permeable surfaces where possible </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing soil compaction </li></ul>
    28. 32. Lawns & hardscapes can do double duty
    29. 37. Retaining water and & inputs <ul><li>Do your homework to minimize inputs first </li></ul><ul><li>Let nature treat your runoff first </li></ul><ul><li>Strategically manage moisture throughout the year </li></ul><ul><li>Work with (not against) backyard streams </li></ul>
    30. 38. Fertilizers <ul><li>Determine what’s needed: test your soil first </li></ul><ul><li>Quick release fertilizer 1/3 max, 3 times during season </li></ul><ul><li>Apply fertilizer during periods when plants will use them </li></ul><ul><li>With nitrogen, slow release is better than fast release </li></ul><ul><li>Condition soil w. compost for maximum use of fertilizers </li></ul><ul><li>Use composting & mulching to return garden waste to soil </li></ul>
    31. 40. Herbicides <ul><li>Follow the directions carefully </li></ul><ul><li>Apply it to healthy plants (water well before) </li></ul><ul><li>Stay back from aquatic environments </li></ul><ul><li>Never apply when rain is forecasted </li></ul><ul><li>Apply during calm weather, cool weather </li></ul><ul><li>Apply it correctly and deliberately (don’t rush) </li></ul><ul><li>Be patient </li></ul>
    32. 41. Principles of IPM <ul><li>Start with resistant and healthy plants </li></ul><ul><li>Be tolerant of some damage </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor for and identify pests </li></ul><ul><li>Choose the least toxic control first </li></ul><ul><li>Combine techniques (e.g. cultural, biological and non-toxic chemical treatments) </li></ul>
    33. 44. Another Way to Look at Pests <ul><li>A sustainable garden is biologically diverse </li></ul><ul><li>Pests are part of that biodiversity </li></ul><ul><li>A balance of invertebrates should be the goal </li></ul><ul><li>An infestation indicates lack of balance </li></ul><ul><li>Strive for plant diversity; avoid monocultures </li></ul>
    34. 45. Going with the flow (instead of against it!) <ul><li>Capture and absorb water in the winter </li></ul><ul><li>Save in the spring, release the excess </li></ul><ul><li>Conserve water in the summer and fall </li></ul><ul><li>Take special care of backyard streams </li></ul>
    35. 46. Low Impact Development plans, ordinances, and best management practices <ul><li>To better protect our </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Streams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fish and wildlife habitat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drinking water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To reduce infrastructure costs </li></ul><ul><li>To make our communities more attractive </li></ul>
    36. 47. LID Principles <ul><li>Work with the landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on prevention of stormwater runoff </li></ul><ul><li>Micromanage stormwater </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-task </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain and sustain </li></ul>
    37. 49. A rain garden is a “sunken garden bed” that collects and treats stormwater runoff from rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and streets. ponding depth 6-12”
    38. 50. © Good Nature Publishing
    39. 51. Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension
    40. 53. Rain Gardens May 2010, L&C NHP, Warrenton Stay tuned to your MG communications for more details. Be there!
    41. 54. Rainwater Harvesting No permit is required to harvest up to 5,000 gallons of rainwater and use it for outdoor irrigation w/o connecting to potable plumbing.
    42. 55. Rain Water Harvesting <ul><li>If used for landscaping and vegetable gardens can go untreated </li></ul><ul><li>Store late spring rain, send the rest to the rain garden </li></ul><ul><li>Consider designing your system to store water after “first flush” to minimize pollutants </li></ul>
    43. 56. Remember: you have more than just human neighbors along that stream!
    44. 58. Caring for Backyard Streams <ul><li>Maintain good riparian shade near streams </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t mow to the edge; leave it wild </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t straighten or arm stream banks </li></ul><ul><li>Leave large woody debris in streams </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t drain seasonal wetlands near streams </li></ul><ul><li>Keep livestock & pets out of streams </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid planting invasives; control where possible </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize pollution into the stream </li></ul>
    45. 59. What’s wrong with this picture?
    46. 60. A practical tip: Enjoy Your Stream <ul><li>Frame your view </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large plants near sides of your property </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Go by full growth height </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan years in advance avoid future hassles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low growing shoreline plants include small fruited bulrush, slough sedge, and yellow monkey flower </li></ul></ul>
    47. 61. Sample Design 1 Dry steep slope <ul><li>This landscape plan is for a garden that has a steep slope </li></ul>
    48. 65. Water CPR Checkup <ul><li>Save water, retain water, soak up water </li></ul><ul><li>Lower your inputs by best conservative application </li></ul><ul><li>Go native wherever possible </li></ul><ul><li>Treat your backyard stream well </li></ul>
    49. 66. Questions?
    50. 67. Robert Emanuel, Ph.D. Water Resources & Community Development Specialist OSU Extension Service Tillamook & Clatsop counties (503) 842-5708 X 210 [email_address] Contact Information