On-going maintenance is essential to keep your Yard Smart project working properly and looking great. In rain gardens and native landscaping, plants that are kept alive and healthy do a better job of soaking in rainwater runoff and keep your yard beautiful. Cisterns kept free of blockages make it easier to use water for summer irrigation, and allow water to easily soak into the ground during winter months.
1) Weed - Invasive weeds can rapidly crowd out young plants, and are less capable of absorbing water. Pull weeds by hand or with a long-handled weed puller. Never use herbicides or pesticides in your rain garden.
2) Mulch - A thick layer of compost, leaves, or wood chips prevents weeds, soaks in more water, and protects the roots of plants. Check and maintain a 3 inch mulch layer across your planting area.
3) Water - Young plants need water to grow strong roots. Watering your plants deeply is important in the first two to three summers after installation.
Learn more about maintaining native landscaping (PDF - 6.6MB).
Learn more about maintaining your rain garden.
1) Clean - To prevent algae or sediment build up, clean your cistern every August. Clean your gutters annually to prevent blockages.
2) Clear - Check overflow, low flow valve, and cistern screen once per year and remove any buildup of leaves or sediment to help keep your cistern functioning flawlessly.
Learn more about maintaining your cistern (PDF - 1.6MB).
1) Water - To establish a robust root system, water your tree for at least 2 years.
2) Remove Stakes - Test if stakes/supports are ready to be removed by grasping the base of the tree and gently shaking. Do not leave stakes/supports on longer than necessary.
3) Mulch- Maintain a 3-6 inch thick mulch layer underneath the drip line of the tree, but keep mulch from piling directly against the trunk to prevent rot.
4) Weed - Remove grass and weeds from around the tree trunk.
5) Prune - Do not prune until the second or third year except to remove dead or broken branches.
Learn more about tree care and maintenance (PDF - 2.7MB).
View our Frequently Asked Questions or email YardSmart@kirklandwa.gov.