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Algae: Let’s Get Rid of the Scum

Posted on July 12, 2017 by | Comments Off

pond_algaePond Scum. Green Slime. Mosquito-Breeding Muck. 

Nobody likes a pond covered with algae. Algae can be beneficial, but that all-encompassing, gooey mess is too much. That pond scum is a smothering blanket that blocks light and kills plants and fish. Why do some ponds turn into scum pits, while others have minimal algae growth? As a pond owner or someone living near a pond, what can you do to prevent it?

Algae grows in stagnantwaters. It loves direct sunlight and nutrients. You can discourage algae growth by adding oxygen to your pond and reducing exposure to the phosphates and nitrogen found in fertilizers. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Aerate! Bubbling aerators and fountains keep the water moving and add oxygen to ponds. Higher oxygen levels reduce algae growth.
  • Add plants! Plants add oxygen. They also use some of those nutrients that contribute to excessive algae growth. Pond plants can improve a pond’s aesthetics while keeping the water clear. Your best sources of information on plants are local nurseries and garden centers that specialize in ponds and wetlands plantings. Be aware that ponds located near tidal water may contain salt or brackish water. If that is the case, opt for salt-tolerant species.
  • Treat if you must, but use an environmentally friendly algaecide. Do not grab the stuff you would use in a swimming pool. Use only the amount recommended.

Now for the really important step: Reduce the fertilizer! If you use too much, you are fertilizing the algae. If you feed it, scum will grow. Use a nutrient management plan. That means that you should have your soil tested before using fertilizer. That way you can limit fertilizer use to what your soil needs. Extra fertilizer is not absorbed by your plants…it runs downstream. Also, avoid fertilizing near a drainage system and watch the weather! You don’t want to fertilize just before a rain storm.

Following these steps will keep your fertilizer and your landscaping dollars from washing away. In addition to the money-saving benefits, reducing algae makes ponds look better. It also helps the environment. 

Posted in: Lawn and landscape, Outdoor tips, Waterways

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Help Your Christmas Tree Give Back

Posted on December 18, 2014 by | Comments Off

Hampton Roads Christmas Tree RecyclingThe fresh smell of pine during the holiday season is tough to turn down. So if you are among the many residents in Hampton Roads who will be enjoying a real-deal Christmas tree this year, make sure you dispose of it properly when you are finished with it. Many cities and counties in Hampton Roads offer free Christmas tree recycling after the holidays. Christmas trees are great for making mulch which is then used to improve community parks and green spaces come springtime. Some localities are even able to sell this mulch, made from locally recycled yard waste, to the public.

Recycling your Christmas tree is really a win-win situation. And Christmas trees aren’t the only recyclable byproduct of the holidays! Review the holiday recycling guide to make sure all your holiday waste ends up in the proper container. Come on Hampton Roads, get your 2015 off to a great, green start!

*All Christmas trees turned in for recycling must be free of any ornaments, tinsel and tree stands. As of this date, the following cities and counties have announced their Christmas tree recycling schedules.

ChesapeakeGloucester | Hampton | Isle of Wight | James City County | Newport News | Norfolk | Poquoson | Portsmouth | SmithfieldSuffolk | Surry County | Virginia Beach | Williamsburg | York County

 

Chesapeake

When: Dec. 26–Jan. 8

Where: Trees will be picked up on the regular trash collection day. Trees placed at the curb between January 2 and 8 will be recycled.

What to know: Remove all ornaments, tinsel and the stand. Place it separately from bulk waste and regular trash so it can be easily collected. Please do not put in a bag or put netting around it.

 

Gloucester

When: Ongoing

Where: Residents may bring their Christmas trees to any Gloucester County Convenience Center during regular hours. See the list below for locations. Trees should be placed in the brush container and trees will be mulched along with other brush.

  • Middle Peninsula Landfill and Recycling Center – 3714 Waste Management Way (Entrance on Route 17). The Convenience Center at the Landfill operates on the same schedule as the other County Convenience Centers: Monday – Friday 8 AM to 7 PM and Saturday 7 AM to 7 PM.
  • Belroi – 5122 Hickory Ford Road
  • Dutton – 10430 Burke’s Pond Road
  • Court House – 6550 Beehive Drive
  • Hayes – 7599 Guinea Road

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.

 

Hampton

When: Ongoing

Where: Trees will be picked up at curbside on regular trash collection day. Residents can also bring naturally grown trees to be recycled at the Yard Waste Transfer Site, 100 N. Park Lane (off Big Bethel Road at entrance to Bethel Landfill) from 8 AM to 3 PM. Monday – Saturday (closed city holidays).

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Place natural trees separate from bulk waste and regular trash. Do not put in a bag or put netting around it. Artificial trees can be disposed of at curbside as part of the bulk waste. Artificial trees should not be placed with leaves, grass or tree branches.

 

Isle of Wight

When: Ongoing

Where: Natural Christmas trees can be recycled at any of Isle of Wight’s eight convenience centers.

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.

 

James City County

When: Dec. 26–Jan. 31

Where: James City County’s three convenience centers (listed below).

  • Jolly Pond Road – 1204 Jolly Pond Road – Open every day 7 AM to 5 PM.
  • Tewning Road – 117 Tewning Road – Sunday – Closed, Monday 8 AM – 12 PM, Tuesday – Saturday 8 AM – 4 PM.
  • Toano – 185 Industrial Boulevard (Hankins Industrial Park) – Open every day 8 AM – 4 PM.

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.

 

Newport News

When: Ongoing

Where: Natural trees are recyclable as regular brush, and may be placed on the curb as brush collection.

What to know: Please remove the root ball and any non-natural decorations including tinsel and lights. Place tree in a brush pile separate from any bulk being set out. Christmas trees (live or artificial) may also be brought to the Recovery Operations Center located at 550 Atkinson Way.

 

Norfolk

When: Ongoing

Where: Natural trees are collected for composting on regular trash day as part of Norfolk’s yard waste collection service. In addition, residents can bring natural trees, holiday lights and artificial trees to the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center – 1176 Pineridge Road, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM – 2 PM. Artificial trees may also be scheduled for bulk waste collection by calling the Norfolk Cares IMPACT Center at (757) 441-5813, or by completing a request online at www.norfolk.gov/BulkWasteForm. For more information, contact Norfolk’s Department of Public Works Division of Waste Management at 757-441-5813 or email pworks@norfolk.gov.

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.

 

Poquoson

When: Dec. 26–Jan. 20

Where: Residents can drop off natural trees to be recycled at the Municipal Pool Parking Lot (16 Municipal Drive, Poquoson)

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Christmas trees and yard waste are accepted year-round at the VPPSA Compost Facility (located at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, York County), Monday – Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM.

 

Portsmouth

When: Ongoing

Where: Curbside; residents may place their tree at the curb for pickup on their normal trash collection day.

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, garland and lights.

 

Smithfield

When: Through Jan. 15

Where: Curbside

What to know: You must contact the Town Receptionist at 365-4200 and provide your address if you have a Christmas tree to be picked up. Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, garland and lights.

 

Suffolk

When: Dec. 27-Jan. 9

Where: Curbside

What to know: Tree are not recycled, but residents can put them out for disposal for two weeks after Christmas with their regular trash and the collection will not be deducted from their (12) annual free bulk collections.

 

Surry County

When: Jan. 1-Jan. 31

Where: Surry County Collection Centers (listed below)

  • Goodson Path Solid Waste Station – 409 Goodson Path, Dendron
  • Pineview Solid Waste Station – 101 Pineview Road, Waverly
  • Mantura Road Solid Waste Station – 60 Mantura Road, Surry

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Please ask attendants for assistance to ensure that your tree is placed in the designated container.

 

Virginia Beach

When: Normal trash collection day

Where: Curbside or the Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center at 1989 Jake Sears Road with proof of residency.

What to know: Christmas trees will be handled as normal yard debris and need to be free of any decorations or tinsel. Trees collected curbside will be processed into compost. Trees dropped off at the Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center will be ground into mulch.

 

Williamsburg

When: Jan. 5 and Jan. 12

Where: Curbside

What to know: The City Crews will be collecting Christmas trees on Monday, January 5 and Monday, January 12. Trees must be placed at the curb before 7 AM and should be free of the stand, ornaments and lights. Please place separately from bulk waste and regular trash.

 

York County

When: Jan. 5-Jan. 9

Where: Curbside – tree must be at curb by 7 AM on January 5 for collection that week

What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, lights and should be no bigger than seven feet in length. Christmas trees and yard waste are accepted year-round at the VPPSA Compost Facility (located at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, York County), Monday – Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM.

Posted in: Holidays

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America Recycles Day Events in Hampton Roads

Posted on October 13, 2014 by | Comments Off

ard-widgetaskHRgreen.org and cities across Hampton Roads will celebrate America Recycles Day in November with a variety of outreach and recycling collection events. America Recycles Day happens each year on November 15th and is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. It’s our hope that celebrating recycling and all the wonderful things it does for our region will inspire residents to recycle more, trash less all year long.

For more details about the America Recycles Day celebration nearest you, select a city/county from the list below.

Chesapeake

Who: Open to the public
What:
askHRgreen.org Electronics Recycling, Document Shredding & Clothing/Household Item Donation
Where: Greenbrier Mall – in the overflow parking lot between Dillard’s and JCPenney
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 9am-noon
What to bring: Electronics (no TVs, please), documents for shredding, clothing, kitchenware, and household items – for complete details view the event flyer

Hampton

Who: Residency restrictions apply
What:
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Hampton Public Works Operations Complex
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 8am-noon
What to bring:
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste – view complete event information at VPPSA online

Isle of Wight

Who: Isle of Wight residents only
What:
Isle of Wight Recycling Day
Where: Multiple locations
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 7am-7pm
What to bring:
electronics, plastic bags, yard waste and more – for complete details view the event flyer

James City County

Who: Open to the public
What:
Litter Enforcement & Recycling Expo
Where: Legacy Hall, New Town
Date: November 7, 2014
Time: noon-7pm
For complete details view the event flyer

Newport News

Who: Newport News residents only
What:
Newport News Residential Recycling Program
Where:  Newport News Resource Recovery Operations Center
Date: Fridays & Saturdays (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 8am-4pm
What to bring:
electronics, household hazardous waste and yard waste - for complete details view the program website

Norfolk

Who: Some residency restrictions apply
What:
Recycle Norfolk Day
Where:
Norfolk Waste Management Facility
Date:
November 15, 2014
Time:
9am-2pm
What to bring:
electronics, documents for shredding, clothing, kitchenware, household items, plastic bags and more - for complete details view the event flyer

Portsmouth

Who: Open to the public
What:
Portsmouth Recycles Day
Where: Monumental United Methodist Church
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 9am-noon
What to bring:
electronics (no TVs, please), documents for shredding, clothing, kitchenware, household items, and household hazardous waste – for complete details view the event flyer

Virginia Beach

Who: Open to the public
What:
America Recycle Day Celebration
Where: Tidewater Community College – Joint Use Library
Date: November 13
Time: 11am-2pm
For complete details view the event flyer

Who: Virginia Beach residents only
What:
Virginia Beach Residential Recycling Program
Where: Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center
Date: Tuesday through Saturday (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 7am-4:30pm
What to bring:
electronics, metals, household hazardous waste, small household items, clothing/shoes, oyster/clam shells and more – for complete details visit www.vbgov.com/landfill

Yorktown

Who: Open to the public
What:
askHRgreen.org Electronics Recycling & Document Shredding
Where: York County Sports Complex
Date: November 15, 2014
Time: 10am-2pm
What to bring:
electronics (no TVs, please) and documents for shredding – for complete details view the event flyer

Posted in: Community events, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Lawn Prep Time Is Drawing Near

Posted on March 21, 2013 by | Comments Off

Spring Lawn Care PrepTo these 6 tips you must adhere, for lawn care prep time is drawing near!

You can make the most of your time outside by working smarter, not harder this spring. These 6 tips will leave your yard looking beautiful and you feeling great.

Test Your Soil – A soil test provides a list of recommendations for soil amendments to help you make the right decisions for your lawn. Without a soil test, you may be giving your lawn too much or not enough of what it really needs.

Plant More Plants – Trees, shrubs and hardy perennials can beautify your home and help reduce the negative effects of stormwater runoff better than a lawn. Use plants that are native to Hampton Roads and adjusted to local growing conditions. Native plants typically are more resistant to insects and disease and also require less water and fertilizer. Visit Plant More Plants for a list of nurseries that carry native plants in your area.

Mulch, Mulch & Mulch – Mulch helps to control erosion, retain moisture and stabilize soil temperature. A two-inch layer of mulch material, such as fir bark, pine needles or wood chips, will reduce water loss and maintain uniform soil moisture around roots. Mulch also can reduce or eliminate weeds that compete with landscape plants for moisture, nutrients and sunlight.

Seed Bare Spots - If you have bare areas, something must be wrong, and it is preventing the establishment of a turf. This is a problem because you can continually lose your soil. First test your soil testing to see if it needs any soil amendments and then look into different ground covers to stabilize the soil.

Water Wisely – Watering when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cooler minimizes evaporation by as much as 30 percent. The best time to water is during early morning hours. Set sprinklers to water plants, not your driveway, sidewalk, patio or buildings. Installing a rain barrel to collect rain water to water your lawn and garden is another easy way to conserve water.

Cleanup Your Leaves & Yard DebrisKnow your locality’s collection schedule. Only put your leaves and yard debris out at the designated time and follow their collection requirements (bagging, placement, etc.). It’s very important to keep everything out of the street so that it doesn’t end up in the storm drain, which will cause flooding the next time it rains.

Posted in: Gardening, Going Green, Keeping storm drains free, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Using water wisely

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Good to know fall yard challenge

Posted on October 1, 2012 by | Comments Off

It’s fall and you know what that means… time to get your lawn ready to weather the winter and come back strong and vibrant in the spring.

It’s time to get out the shovels, the rakes, the soil test kit, the… wait… don’t you know about testing your soil? You don’t know about WHY you should do it? You don’t know HOW to do it?

Maybe there are other important lawn care facts you don’t know.

In that case, put down that rake. Step away from the shovel. Before you do anything else, you need to take the GOOD TO KNOW FALL YARD CHALLENGE.

Know your grass typeChallenge Question #1: Do you know what type of grass you have?

Before you fertilize, you need to know WHAT type of grass you have to know WHEN it needs to be fertilized. Not all grasses are on the same fertilizing schedule. Some like it in the spring. Some like it in the fall. KNOW YOUR GRASS!


Testing soil is easyChallenge Question #2: Do you know how to tell if your lawn even needs fertilizer?

Are you feeding when its not even hungry? How can you tell? GET YOUR SOIL TESTED. It’s easy, it’s enlightening and it’ll can save you money and extra labor!

Learn more about fertilizing your lawn and soil testing.

 

Over fertilizing harms our waterwaysChallenge Question #3: What happens when you over fertilize?

Your lawn can only absorb so much. And when done improperly, it doesn’t get absorbed at all. Where does that extra fertilizer go you SHOULD ask? Right down the driveway, into the street, into the storm drain, and  DIRECTLY INTO OUR WATERWAYS. That’s right, my friend — directly into the areas where it fuels algal blooms which kill off our fish, blue crabs and other aquatic life. And I don’t know about you, but I want a ready supply of delicious crabs to eat!

Testing soil is easyChallenge Question #4: How can you reduce the amount of fertilizer you’re using and avoid stormwater runoff issues?

This is an easy one… PLANT MORE PLANTS and reduce the amount of lawn you have to take care of. Many of the native plants that thrive on the East Coast are already water savvy. They’ve adapted to the local weather so they have lower water requirements, fewer pest problems and need less fertilizer than non-native plants. Learn more at PlantMorePlants.com

Are you ready to take this challenge to the next level? We hope so! Just follow these guidelines and help spread the word. It’s all Good to Do!

 

More articles on the subject:

Plant More Plants
Native Plants — A Natural Winner
Guide to testing your soil

Posted in: Gardening, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Waterways

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