Waterwise Wednesday: Tree Watering

Photo © Boris Ryaposov

Water newly planted trees. Recent high temperatures coupled with wind and low humidity make new trees more susceptible to stress.

1. Water trees slowly at the base of plants to give them a deep soak. Avoid frequent short waterings, like the lawn, which provide only shallow moisture.

2. Water in the morning to avoid evaporation and help the tree cope the heat of the sun throughout the day.

3. Soaker hoses or tree bags work well for the slow soak tree watering and a 3″ layer of can provide a new tree a buffer from heat, retain water, and avoid root competition with weeds.

Trees are valuable assets to our community. They help shade from heat, shield from cold, manage stormwater, prevent erosion and fight air, water, and noise pollution. So set them up for success with good watering now.

Waterwise Wednesday: National Rivers Month

North Platte River at Scottsbluff July 2019 by L. Sato

We celebrate U.S. rivers and their benefits throughout June.
– Like the Missouri River, the country’s longest at 2,500 miles
– the Mississippi River, the widest, 11 miles across at one point in Minnesota.
– and Nebraska’s 79,056 miles of river

One out of every three people gets their drinking water from a river or stream in the United States. And nationally we spend about $97 billion annually on river-related recreation and tourism.

Drinking water and recreation are two reasons to protect water quality by picking up after your pet, using fertilizers sparingly, and properly disposing of trash.

Waterwise Wednesday: LID Management

Lied Scottsbluff Public Library Bioswale, Scottsbluff, Nebraska September 2015
Photo by L. Sato

Low impact development (LID) or green infrastructure encourages rain to infiltrate where it falls, reducing opportunities for runoff to collect pollutants and reach nearby waters. LID tends to be more attractive, increase property values and provide more environmental benefits than traditional stormwater management methods.


The Lied Scottsbluff Library Bioswale routes roof runoff through the bioswale. The green space reduces runoff to the storm sewer, provides natural water treatment for runoff that overflows to the storm sewer, and creates an oasis for insects and pollinators (and the birds that feed on them).

Waterwise Wednesday: Lawn Watering

Photo © Dreamstime.com

Warmer weather brings on lawn watering. Follow these tips for efficient and effective watering.

1. Water early in the morning, before 10 AM to avoid wind and evaporation from higher temperatures.

2. In ground sprinkler systems are most effective. Pulsating or tractor sprinklers are recommended for manual watering – the heavier drops drift less.

3. Soak 6 inches of soil or do the screwdriver test to determine soil moisture. Push a long-blade screwdriver straight down into the lawn. There’s adequate moisture if the blade penetrates the soil easily depth of 6 inches. If it doesn’t water a bit more.

4. Water twice a week max so the grass develops a deep healthy root system.

5. Or let it go dormant. Grass goes dormant in hot weather, just like it does in the cold of winter. Periodic watering will keep the soil moist and protect roots without killing grass, just like a spring shower or winter snow.


Waterwise Wednesday: Hand Washing Songs


Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Washing hands to the Happy Birthday Song has long been touted as an effective practice for preventing the spread of illness. But, perhaps, you’re tired of singing Happy Birthday an average of nine times per day. Here are some 20-second alternatives:

1. The narrative introduction to Star Trek
2. The Lord’s Prayer
3. The chorus lines to a number of pop songs including:
You Need To Calm Down– Taylor Swift
Party in the USA– Miley Cyrus
Firework– Katy Perry
Mr. Brightside– The Killers
Jolene– Dolly Parton
Don’t Stop Believin’- Journey
Macarena– Los Del Rio
4. Recite Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias”, or another short poem of your choice
5. Count to 20

Waterwise Wednesday: Good Drinking Weather

For your trees, that is. This weeks warmer temperatures provide a good opportunity for a mid-winter watering for landscape trees.Trees that are newly planted or near the south or west sides of a building are most susceptible to winter drought.

Check if the tree needs watering by pushing a screw driver into the soil near the tree. If it only goes in an inch or two, the tree needs water. If the screw driver goes into the ground and returns with a bit of mud, there’s adequate moisture If it comes covered in mud, there’s more than plenty of moisture.

For thirsty trees, provide 2-4 gallons of water on a 40 degree or warmer day. Apply water mid-day to allow time for soaking before possible freezing at night.

Photo © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

Waterwise Wednesday: 1.1.1. Challenge

Photo by Ctacik

Challenge: one plate, one bowl and one glass per person per day. It’s a minimalist challenge to promote cleanliness and waste reduction.

The challenge forces immediate cleanup and tidying so dishes will be available for the next meal. Less dishes combined with efficient dishwashing can reduce the amount of water required for kitchen cleanup.

Waterwise Wednesday: Homemade Windshield De-Icer

Our dry winter weather typically only requires a simple scraping while blasting the defrost to clear car windows. But if you need a quick windshield de-icer this week here’s some recipes to try:

1. Isopropyl alcohol and water: Mix two parts 70% isopropyl alcohol and one part water in a spray bottle.

2. Saltwater: Mix water and a teaspoon or two of salt. Road salt for best effectiveness.

3. Buy a commercial de-icing spray.

Use any of the above sparingly, just enough to get the ice melting. Then lightly chip away the ice and brush it away. Excessive amounts of the spray can cause damage to your car windshield, paint, or surfaces where the ice and melt land (e.g., dormant plants) from the salt or chemicals.

Waterwise Wednesday: 100% Infiltration

Photo: Salp Chain by Kevin Lee

“The thing that truly surprised me the most was that every salp, regardless of year collected, species, life stage, or part of the ocean collected, had plastic in its stomach,” says biological oceanographer Jennifer Brandon.

Salps are small transparent sea creatures that feed constantly on nanophyto- or microzooplankton while swimming in all of the worlds seas and oceans. The microplastics they ingest are as small as 10 micrometers, smaller than the width of a human hair. The 100% ingestion rate is alarming since salp digest their food in two to seven hours.

Brandon warns, mini-microplastics in the salp could make their way into the human body through the seafood we enjoy that eat salp. More than one-third of mini-microplastics found were synthetic fabric fibers from polyester or nylon. Car tires were the second-leading source, which release plastic particles as they erode.

Waterwise Wednesday: Change Your Life Challenge 2020

Looking for ways to save water, energy, money and waste less?

Take a peek at the Change Your Life Challenge 2020 (CYCL 2020) based here in the Nebraska Panhandle.

It’s a year long facebook-based community group exploring a different theme each month with weekly challenges to help transform living habits to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly, energy efficient, or a combination thereof. Several local businesses and entities have partnered in an effort to connect residents with helpful resources and information to become more efficient stewards of resources.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/489003041692075/