05 Apr 2024

Celebrate Earth Day & Ag Fest with us!

We are looking forward to an exciting weekend Friday 4/26 through Sunday 4/28. Earth Day, Ag Fest, along with planting and gardening at home, let’s get ready for a great Summer!

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Who: Marion County community members are welcome to come party at the park. This event is family-friendly and free for everyone.

What: Get outside and enjoy earth-friendly activities to celebrate Earth Day.

When: Friday, April 26th from 3pm – 7pm

Where: Spong’s Landing County Park

Why: Learn about environmental work done by local agencies and celebrate our Earth with fun activities!

RSVP

 

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Join us at the Oregon State Fairgrounds for over 25 hands-on activities for kids to learn more about where their food, fiber, and flora come from. Family fun includes horse and wagon rides, stage entertainment, food demonstrations, and much more! At Oregon Ag Fest, you can ride ponies, watch chicks hatch, dig for potatoes, plant seedlings, enjoy the petting zoo, and watch a sheep get a haircut.

We strive to bridge the gap between urban and rural life and to share the wonder and abundance of Oregon’s bountiful and diverse harvest. Most importantly, we do this in a family-friendly way, where kids 15 and under receive free admission, and virtually all activities at the event are free of charge. Come check it out for yourself: join us April 27-28, 2024 for the 32nd annual Oregon Ag Fest.

Kids 15 and under are FREE. 16 and over $15.00 admission. Saturday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Parking is FREE courtesy of Ag Fest.

Sorry, no pets are allowed. Service animals only.

02 Nov 2023

The rainy season has arrived!

Rainy Season Has Arrived!

November typically marks the beginning of the rainy season in Oregon, and this year it looks like it is going to arrive right on time as a burst of heavy rain and an atmospheric river are forecasted to drop 1 to 2 inches of rain in the Willamette Valley over the next few days.  This may cause some urban flooding impacts due to leaves blocking the storm drains causing water to pool on roadways.

The City of Salem has issued guidelines for residents and business owners to dispose of fallen leaves responsibly, as blowing or dumping leaves into the streets may block drains, potentially causing street flooding and water backups. Residents are encouraged to gather fallen leaves from their properties and place them in yard waste or compost bins for disposal. While it’s necessary to keep the leaves out of the storm drains it is also important to know that they do not belong in the landfill. There is no oxygen in a landfill to decompose organic matter properly, which causes anaerobic conditions and the generation of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. 

Leave Some of the Leaves

Turf grass is the single largest “crop” grown in this region which leaves a disproportionate ratio of lawn to garden in most yards and is the main reason we rake, mow, and blow leaves in our yards. While a thick layer of leaves is too much for turf grass to handle, a thin layer can provide benefits like adding organic matter to the soil, suppressing weeds, and moisture retention. Any remaining leaves can be piled up a couple of inches thick around ornamental trees, shrubs, and perennials and used as free mulch. Fallen leaves have a lot of the same properties as shredded wood mulch as they are high in Carbon. If you still have extra leaves that need to be disposed of, please take them to a composting facility such as Highway Fuel, where they will be safely recycled into compost.

14 Aug 2023

Preparing for a heat wave

It has been a hot and dry summer in the Pacific Northwest and the region is expected to experience a heatwave this week as temperatures rise 10-15 degrees above normal. It’s important to keep gardens and landscapes hydrated during heatwaves. Here are some tips to keep your garden and landscape plants comfortable:

  • Water plants deeply either in the evening or early morning before the high temperatures arrive. Getting water on the leaves can lead to fungal diseases in some plants, like squash, so watering in the morning is ideal.
  • Container plants need to be checked frequently as they dry out faster than inground plantings and during a heatwave and they may need to be watered more than once each day. Consider moving container plants into shady areas or set up some shade cloth for the duration of the heatwave,
  • Learn what your plants’ watering requirements are and adjust them accordingly. Some prefer almost zero water during summer (i.e., manzanita& madrone) whereas other ones will wilt even when they have water (i.e., hydrangea & rhododendron).
  • Visually check for watering needs by using a moisture meter or by simply just watching plants; if they droop, it’s time to water.
  • Newly installed plants are among the highest priorities for watering during a heatwave. These plants have not been rooted into the ground completely and are at a greater risk of drying out in the heat.
  • Add a layer of mulch around your plants such as compost, aged bark, or woodchips to help maintain soil moisture. Sandy soil will need more frequent watering than clay soil, especially if it isn’t amended with organic matter.
  • Make sure to not transplant, prune, or fertilize during a heat wave as these activities are all stressful for plants.

Since heatwaves are occurring more frequently, here are some additional tips that can help prepare your garden and landscape for future heatwaves:

  • Grow drought-tolerant plants and try grouping them together; consider xeriscaping a portion or all of yard.
  • Use drip systems and soaker hoses for the most efficient watering. They get the water directly to the plant’s roots.
  • Stay on top of weeding in the garden as they compete for nutrients and water.
  • Amend soil regularly with organic material, like compost, as it will increase the water-holding capacity in any soil type.
  • Last but not least, make sure you’re also staying hydrated!
 
02 Aug 2023

Sizzlin’ Summer

One of the most common calls we get at Highway Fuel is from people looking for “Mulch”. The term mulch seems to be the new green buzz word around the landscaping and gardening communities. So, what is mulch, exactly? The word mulch most likely comes from the German word molsch, which is the word used to describe something that is soft and starting to decay. A mulch layer typically consists of a layer of organic material covering the soil, especially found around trees or shrubs. Some examples of organic materials that can be used to mulch include wood chips, bark, compost, sawdust, leaves, & straw. Organic mulches are best for adding nutrients to the soil and suppressing weeds, but they don’t fully block all weeds. Inorganic materials such as landscape fabric, gravel or stone can work well for blocking weeds and holding in moisture, but don’t add any nutrients to soil. Gravel and stones can work well as mulch for plants that like hot weather or gardens that need good amount of drainage such as rain gardens.

Placing mulch around the landscape is by no means a new technology. Plants have long been naturally creating mulch for themselves by dropping needles and leaves all around them, creating a protective barrier on top of the soil that their roots can grow in. Mother nature mulches annually, as one layer of organic matter decays another layer is added. People have also been using mulch to protect the roots of newly planted shrubs, trees, and plants for as long as people have worked the soil. A layer of mulch around the base of the plants will keep them well-moisturized and free from weeds in the summer as well as prevent erosion and keep the roots warm in the winter. The structure of the soil and overall fertility will improve if mulch is used consistently over time.
If you don’t have enough materials such as bark, wood chips, leaves, or gravel to use as mulch, call or stop by Highway Fuel. We carry many bulk bark products such as medium fir, dark fine fir, dark or red hemlock, dyed fir bark, or fir or cedar wood chips (https://highwayfuel.com/product-category/barks/). All bark products are available by the 5-gallon bucket (Bring Your Own Bucket, or buy one of ours) or by the cubic yard for pick-up, delivery, or installation using our blower truck service. Learn more about our blower service at https://highwayfuel.com/services/blower-truck/.