Install a Smart Irrigation timer: The latest irrigation technology allows you to program your system to target specific plants and soil types, making it less likely that you'll over water. Some timers can sense moisture levels and precipitation, i.e. no more watering in the rain.Kill Your Lawn: O.K. put down the blowtorch. We don't mean it literally. But many homes around Central Oregon have an over abundance of turf. Consider scaling back on the bluegrass, expanding natural areas with rock and native plants. Remember, the desert look is right at home in the desert.
Replace your sprinklers: You may want to call in an expert if you're not the DIY type, but replacing high-volume watering heads with low-flow drip systems is a great way to save water and cut back on your bill. This is a good project to tackle in tandem with step 2.
Switch Your Grass: Most landscapers, builders and turf companies use Kentucky Bluegrass varieties in Central Oregon. The grass establishes itself well in Central Oregon's short growing season, however, it's also incredibly thirsty. Recent research by the City of Bend and Oregon State University has shown that a better option is tall fescue, a more resilient and drought-tolerant grass that can be equally attractive and help cut down on your water bill. The City of Bend has a great step-by-step guide for creating a fescue lawn from seed on its Water Wise page.
Fertilize: Yes, it may sound like a dirty word, but Central Oregon's sandy soil needs a little help if you want it to sustain a healthy lawn. Skipping on fertilizer just means more watering, and not necessarily with the same results. Talk to an expert, aka the guy or girl with the name tag on at the hardware store, to find out how much to apply to your lawn and when.
Maybe it’s something in the water, or the upholstery of our Subaru Outbacks that makes Central Oregonians so environmentally conscious, a fact that’s readily apparent in our recycling rates (almost 45 percent of our waste is now repurposed) and our embrace of solar power. (We’re home to half a dozen installers and recently added two of the biggest solar systems in state at Bend Broadband’s data center and Facebook’s new server farm in Prineville.)
Whatever the reason, sustainability isn’t just a way of life in Bend -- it’s an industry that includes everything from small windpower producers like Redmond’s Abney Electrix to a people-powered cycle pub in Bend. This year’s Green Issue is a snapshot of how Central Oregon is putting itself on the forefront of the sustainability movement both individually and collectively. While there are dozens of interesting examples of how entrepreneurs, public agencies and private citizens are blazing a green trail, we’ve narrowed our focus to seven projects that show how Central Oregonians are putting their values into practice; examples range from a multimillion dollar community forest project to a natural soap making business. Read it, share it and then recycle it. (EF)