Safety issues in the outdoors |

Safety issues in the outdoors

old dead pine trees in mountains
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Colorado is sometimes a tough place to live. We braced for a serious drought, from which much of the state has been (mostly) spared. Yet all summer long, fire and water have ravaged many areas worse than drought could ever have done. And yesterday, hail uncharacteristically pelted some areas along the Front Range.

So what’s the point?

Respect Mother Nature, respond when you must — and be proactive when you can. It’s all we can ever do, but it’s important. Here are some common sense reminders that Coloradoans need to heed as we interact with the elements and care for our outdoor spaces.

1. After downpours, re-set the sprinkler system to rain mode. Mother Nature gave us water, so don’t waste yours.

2. If you have land that’s survived a wildfire, preserve the soil. Cover it with straw or other protective material to prevent erosion.

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3. In burn areas, also be on guard against invasive cheat grass and replant wisely.

4. For plants stripped by hail, prune off broken stems and nurture what’s left. Sometimes plants are more resilient than they look.

5. Beware dead trees. Colorado is now full of dead trees destroyed by pine beetle and wild fires. These trees can fall at any time and without warning. If you’re in a burn area — or are just out for a hike — be very cautious. Never hang anything in dead trees or push on them. Stay alert.

6. Protect your harvest. Even in urban areas, raccoons skunks, rabbits, deer, birds and squirrels will puncture, peck and strip ripening edibles. Take protective measures like spreading blood meal around plants or using sprays from local garden centers that repel wildlife. Follow the label. Think twice before using protective nets as birds often get trapped and seriously injured in them.

7. Get help. The forest service has resources for burn areas. The CSU Extension Service offers gardening and related help. And there are full-time professionals who know about insects/disease, fire-wise plants, low-water plants and how to keep landscapes healthy, more productive and pleasing. Whatever your 911 issues may be, seek out the experts.

Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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