Cankerworm Prevention Workshops – September 17 and 22

CANKERWORMS: Those creepy green worms that fall from the sky

Want to learn how to get rid of them? Come find out!

Wednesday, September 17, 6:30-7:30PM – Cooperative Extension on Foster Street

Monday, September 22, 6:30-7:30PM – Kirby Horton Hall at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Cankerworms are destroying our Willow Oaks. Join the band wagon to fight these pests. Find out how at our informational sessions with experts from Duke University, Durham County Cooperative Extension, and the City of Durham.

Let us know you are coming by signing up at  or call 919-354-2729.

Durham County Encourages Residents to Join Statewide Effort to Reduce Litter

Residents tired of litter in Durham County can now do more about it by cutting out unsightly waste during the annual North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Fall Litter Sweep.

Last year, volunteer groups and other participants removed millions of pounds of litter from North Carolina roadsides. The negative effects of litter include declining property values, reluctance of business relocation and investment and increased crime.

The Durham County Solid Waste Division strongly encourages churches, civic organizations, schools, businesses, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers and concerned citizens of Durham County to join others statewide in organizing a cleanup team in this year’s litter prevention effort.

This year Fall Litter Sweep runs September 20 – October 4, 2014, throughout all of North Carolina.

In Durham County it’s easy to partner with NCDOT for Fall Litter Sweep during the two-week period by simply:

  • Organizing a volunteer group.
  • Choosing any state road to clean up. The chosen road can be in your neighborhood, one you travel on to work, or any state road you believe needs attention.
  • Contacting the NCDOT maintenance office in Durham County at (919) 477-2814 or 1-800-331-5864 to reserve cleaning supplies (i.e. safety vests, orange bags for trash and      blue bags for recyclables).
  • Designating a person from your team to pick up needed cleaning supplies.

After your cleanup:

  • Leave your orange bags filled with trash on the roadside.
  • Call the NCDOT maintenance office again at (919) 477-2814 and this time give them the number of bags filled and their exact location on the road for pick up.
  • Take your blue bags of recyclables to a local recycling drop off center. A list of recycling centers in Durham can be found at
  • Request your certificates of appreciation from NCDOT by completing the form found

The beauty of fall will soon be here with vibrant colors of leaves. Residents of Durham can make fall in Durham County even more beautiful by participating in Fall Litter Sweep.

For more information about participating in the 2014 Fall Litter Sweep, call the Durham County Solid Waste Division at (919) 560-0437 or NCDOT at (800) 331-5864.  Information about the Fall Litter Sweep is also available at


Durham E-Waste Recycling & Shredding Event October 4

Free & Convenient Event Open to All Durham Residents & Businesses

Durham residents and businesses waiting for the next free opportunity to recycle electronic waste and shred confidential documents should plan to attend the E-Waste Recycling and Paper Shredding Event early next month.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the visitor side of the Durham County Memorial Stadium, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Event staff will be on hand to unload old electronics and paper.

The event, co-sponsored by the City of Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department, Sonoco Recycling, Shimar Recycling, Synergy Recycling and Durham County Government, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

·         Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.

·         Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.

·         Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.

·         Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines

·         Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks and vacuum cleaners

·         Power tools, cordless tools, etc.

·         Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems

·         This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon

Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. Requirements for shredding include:

·         Paper may contain paper clips and staples; hanging file folders will not be accepted

·         Only paper should be brought for shredding; CDs, DVDs and other non-paper items will not be accepted

·         All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper

·         Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material)

·         Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility

Durham residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station), located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon. For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 or visit

Canker Worm Control Workshiop – Sept 9, 7 pm

Tue Sep 9, 2014   7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Where: Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson Street, Durham, NC

Canker worms are becoming a growing problem in Durham.  They are those nuisance inch worms that appear in the spring and defoliate the trees.  To combat this problem there will be a series of workshops to demonstrate how and when to wrap a barrier around you tree to get the biggest impact, learn when and how to glue, and when to remove the barrier so that you don’t girdle the trees. Class is free, but registration is required. Contact 919-668-1707 or

Fall Lawn Clinic September 13, 10-11 a.m.

A Fall Lawn Clinic, or How I Stopped Torturing My Yard and Saved the Lakes

When: Saturday, September 13, 10-11AM

Where: 301 Spring Garden Drive, Durham

Our lawns greened up with the rain and fall is the time to make changes in your yard so it’s a good time to learn how to have a “smarter” lawn. For example, as we try to reduce nutrients going into our lakes, can you make a difference by using the best times to fertilize and best ways to control weeds, and making sure you aren’t spreading more  fertilizer than you need?  Do you have microclimates in your yard — and how do you deal with them?  Can you make planting choices that make a lower impact (and take less money and work)?The Durham County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Sierra Club will be having a lawn clinic from 10:00AM to 11:00 on September 13.  We will start at Melissa Rooney’s  house in the Fairfield Neighborhood (301 Spring Garden Drive), walk around to look at cool yards and talk about how lawn chemicals get into stormwater.  In the process, we will learn some practical things about lawn care.

Directions to 301 Spring Garden:  From Herndon Road, turn onto Springmoor Lane (the smaller of the two entrances to the Fairfield neighborhood). At end of Springmoor (T intersection), stop at stop sign and look straight ahead – that is the house.

Cover Crops and Crop Rotation class this Saturday

SATURDAY AUGUST 16 from 10-11 a.m. in the Briggs Ave. garden, Durham Master Gardener Leanna Murphy Dono will be leading a class on “Cover Crops and Crop Rotation” to help gardeners learn about planting fall/winter cover crops (like clovers and legumes) that help soil recover nutrients, improve soil structure and prevent weeds when not planted in vegetable crops.  If it’s raining at class time, we’ll meet at the Extension Office instead.

During the class, we’ll examine some cover crops growing in the garden now (many thanks to Marsha Booker-Hibbs who helped Leanna plant and turn under some cover crops in July), and we’ll look at how they are turned over/break down.  You’ll learn about the benefits of planting buckwheat, rye, crimson clover, cow peas and more and the timing of planting in the rotation (spring vs. summer.)

All the Briggs Avenue Community Garden plot owners who attend will be able to put in a cover crop for a hands-on planting demo.

This class is free and open to the public (including Master Gardeners for continuing education credit and Briggs plot owners); please call Pana at 919-560-0525 or email:  to pre-register.

Adopt A Tree

You can take ownership of a street tree! Keep Durham Beautiful partners with City of Durham Department of General Services, Urban Forestry Division  to share the cost of purchase and planting street trees and urban shade trees in other public spaces like parks and greenways. Residents or community groups who adopt a street tree pay for roughly half the wholesale cost of the tree ($50 for ball and burlap trees or $10 for bare-root trees) and the City of Durham covers the other half as well as planting the tree.

What you do

  1. You fill out our Adopt-A-Tree Request Form (pdf) or our online form requesting a street or park tree along with your donation of $50 to Keep Durham Beautiful. You may request a specific location and have input into the tree type in some cases. Species are selected from proven survivors which can tolerate a range of challenging site conditions, and are matched to the site. Although we cannot guarantee that we can honor your request, you will have an opportunity to withdraw or change your request.
  2. You water the tree once a week during periods without rain for one year to establish the tree.

What we do

  1. We work with you to determine a suitable location and tree type for your adoption.
  2. We purchase and plant the tree for you, and you may have the opportunity to assist with planting.
  3. Depending on location, we may provide mulch and/or temporary supplies such as staking supplies, trunk protection or gator bag for watering ease.
  4. City staff will select, locate, plant and maintain the tree in perpetuity.

What we all get

This innovative program facilitates replanting of dead, damaged or missing trees, and enhances the tree canopy for all to enjoy.

Planting trees and other plants has many benefits:

  • filters pollution from the air
  • helps recycle water (slow water down and filters it before reaching streams and lakes)
  • prevents soil loss (keeps soil out of the streams)
  • create shade (less energy needed for cooling)
  • gives shelter from wind and rain
  • provides shelter and food for wildlife
  • provides an interesting, soothing learning environment for people
  • builds community and sense of well-being

For more information on the benefits of trees in our community, visit our Beautification page.

How to Get Started

Contact the Urban Forestry Manager Alex Johnson ( or 919-560-4197) with your questions.

  1. Download (pdf) and mail our Urban Tree Request Form with a check payable to “Keep Durham Beautiful” OR
  2. Complete the electronic form  and pay by credit card with secure online payment option

Durham Reminds Residents to Mow Lawns

Summer and rain are guaranteed to grow your lawn. While it’s a chore that many don’t enjoy, the City of Durham is reminding property owners to regularly mow their lawns.

According to the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, since April 1st, code enforcement officers have responded to more than 900 complaints of too tall grass, resulting in unsightly neighborhoods and numerous citations that could cost property owners at least $250 in fines. “Our code enforcement officers are swamped right now with complaints about tall grass and we really need our property owners to take the time to mow their lawns so our officers can focus on other issues that impact our quality of life,” said Director Constance Stancil. “We don’t want to issue notices of violation or levy fines. We simply want folks to embrace their neighborhoods by regularly mowing their lawns, and if possible, help out their elderly or disabled neighbors to keep their lawns mowed as well.”

To help remind property owners to mow their lawns this growing season, the department is kicking off an educational campaign by posting reminders to community list serves, on Durham Television Network, on the City’s social media channels, and advertising on several channels with Time Warner Cable.

According to Stancil, too tall grass is more than just an aesthetic issue…it’s a health issue too. “Weeds and undergrowth over 12 inches tall provide a harborage for rodents, vermin, mosquitoes and other pests,” Stancil said. “This increases the hazards of disease, injury or fire as well as creates hazards to the health, safety and welfare of your yard and your neighborhood.”

For more information about the City’s weed, junk and debris ordinance or the responsibilities of property owners, visit

Durham Hosts “Get Your Grass Off Gas” June 21

An Opportunity to Purchase Deeply-Discounted Electric Yard Equipment

With mowing season underway, area residents have an opportunity to trade in their old gas-guzzling mowers and other yard equipment and take advantage of steep discounts on cleaner and greener electric versions.

The 4th Annual “Get Your Grass Off Gas” event will be held in the parking lot at the corner of East Main Street and Queen Street on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will be held rain or shine.

Hosted by the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, this event provides residents with the opportunity to purchase discounted electric yard and garden equipment to help get polluting gasoline-powered equipment “off the grass” and into the recycling bin. Discounts will range from 17 to 35 percent depending on the model. Available equipment includes lawnmowers, trimmers, edgers, blowers, vacuums, and loppers. Residents who do not have older equipment to trade in can still purchase electric models at the events, but with a smaller discount.

For more information on mower models and prices, and to pre-register to reserve specific mowers, visit Pre-registration is not required; however, event organizers cannot guarantee a particular model will be available without pre-registration.

All gas-powered equipment brought in to be recycled must be drained of fluids before being dropped off. Used motor oil can be dropped off at the City of Durham’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

For more information about this event, contact Sustainability Specialist Megan Carroll at (919) 560-7993 or by email at

Durham’s Water Into Trees Program Makes Donating Easy

Donations Now Accepted at  

Tree lovers in Durham now have a new and easy way to support the City of Durham’s efforts to plant more trees…straight from their keyboards.

The City’s “Water Into Trees” program is now offering an online site to make it easy for residents to plant trees in Durham. Through this new online form, residents can elect to make a tax-deductible donation with each residential water bill payment or a one-time contribution. These funds are then used by the City’s Urban Forestry Division to purchase additional trees for streets, parks and green spaces.

According to Urban Forestry Manager Alexander Johnson, most of Durham’s neighborhood street trees were planted over 70 years ago, and are projected to require removal at an increasing rate over time. “As trees are lost to old age and declining health, their replacement is contingent upon outside funding and active neighborhood participation,” Johnson said. “Residents can help by making a tax-deductible donation to the program online. It’s a great way to ensure our community continues to enjoy the benefits of trees, which provide clean water and air, cooler temperatures, noise buffering, healthy places for outdoor activities and exercise, energy conservation, a greater sense of place and community, and increased property values.”

Donations can now be made at Making it easy for residents to donate toward tree plantings through this program is an example of how the City is expanding its attention on Durham’s trees. Last year, the City and County launched Trees Across Durham, which is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree care-takers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community. For more information about Trees Across Durham, visit

For more information about the “Water Into Trees” program, or to request a paper donation form, contact Johnson at (919) 560-4197 ext. 21275 or by email at