Every fall, Teresa Burton of the Park Board inspects the two Wood Duck houses on Diamond Lake and prepares them for mating season in the spring. Here is her update for the fall of 2015:
“Both houses were successful this year! One was picture perfect with down, broken bits of shell, and membranes. The other house contained broken bits of shell and membranes. This is great news! I have included a couple of photos. One photo is of the box just being opened and the other is the nest contents spread on the ground for counting purposes. We leave the boxes clean and open for the winter and in the spring we will be adding fresh nesting material and closing the house back up in hopes that the boxes will continue to be used.”
Keeping Your Lawn Healthy & Water-Friendly
Fall is the best time to fertilize lawns and control weeds. Here are some tips from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for keeping a healthy fall lawn that looks nice and protects the health of nearby lakes and streams:
Mow – Mow often, leave clippings on the lawn and leave your grass 2.5 to 3 inches high. This strengthens roots and retains moisture for a green, resilient lawn.
Fertilize – Mid-to late October is the best time to fertilize your lawn. Fertilizer provides grass with nutrients for spring growth. Use “zero phosphorus” fertilizer (look for a middle number of 0 on the package). Water your lawn for 1 to 2 hours after application.
Control Weeds – September is the best time to treat dandelions, plantain, clover and creeping Charlie. Limited numbers of weeds should be removed by hand or spot-treated with herbicide.
Sweep up – Sweep up and reuse lawn care products that fall on streets, sidewalks and driveways.
Rake – Rake leaves to keep them out of storm drains and nearby water bodies, where they release phosphorus and other unwanted nutrients. Keep them away from driveways, streets and sidewalks.
What to do with leaves – There are a few water-friendly ways you can get rid of leaves:
* Compost – Recycles nutrients
* Mulch – Use leaves as mulch, either whole or shredded
* Mow – If there is less than 2 inches of leaves on your lawn, leave them in place and make several passes over them with a power mower. This provides your lawn valuable nutrients and makes it look like you just raked!
* Bag – Rake and bag your leaves for pick-up by city crews. Minneapolis and other communities compost bagged leaves.
Teresa Burton, from the Horticulture department of the Minneapolis Park and Rec. Board, is in charge of the installation and monitoring of wood duck houses at Diamond Lake. Here are her comments about the status of the houses this year with a picture of the material taken from one of the nest boxes:
“We put up two pole mounted houses with predator guards in the vicinity of the church on the south side of Diamond Lake last fall to be used (hopefully) this spring. In the spring we fill the houses with fresh woodchips and then return in the fall to check on the status of the houses, record data, empty, and clean. We record a variety of different things on each house. The presence of down, shells, whole eggs, presence of squirrels, wasps, owls, etc. This year both houses had a number of whole eggs (19 and 11) and no down or shells present. It would lead us to believe that the boxes this year may have been dump nests. It is also possible that something happened to the hen but as no down was present the dump nest seems more likely. Sometimes dump nests happen when there are too few or too many nesting sites in the area. Conflicting? I know. Sometimes things are a mystery. There are many different theories on whether dump nests are good or not so good. We consider a house used is a house successful.”
The following link gives a more detailed description of Wood Duck activity: http://www.woodducksociety.com/qanda.htm#A_Wood_Duck_Hen_and_her_Eggs:
How can you take care of your lawn AND protect our waters?
You might be surprised at just how simple it can be.
If you’re working on fall clean-up like most residents, there are some things you should know that can help improve the quality of Diamond Lake and other lakes & streams.
Responsible, low-impact turf care is easy, and generally less expensive than using chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that pollute our lakes and streams. This article, courtesy of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, provides tips & tricks for ensuring that caring for your little patch of green also cares for the water ecosystems.
Get the scoop before you rake!
Take a look and see what Friends of Diamond Lake has been up to, what plans are in store, and how you can get involved.
Special thanks go to Melanie Countryman and Leigh Oltmans for editing and layout and to all of the contributors of content and photos.
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