(ARA) - For many homeowners, taking care of your lawn and landscape implies using large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides. This doesn't need to be. A new concept, Sustainable Landscaping, outlines steps that give you the results desired while reducing impacts on the environment. In fact, some of these practices will enhance your environment.
Sustainable Landscaping is a method that encourages using as many renewable resources as practical. It also works to minimize the impact of using these resources. One example of a renewable resource is using recycled bark as mulch to control weeds and moisture. Another is recycling nutrients in grass clippings by leaving them on your lawn. Also, using plants that are best suited for where they are placed. These strategies reduce the resources you need to add for them to thrive.
* Sustainable Landscape Design
To design your landscape with a Sustainable Design, place a rain garden below your roof down spouts to collect runoff water. Melinda Myers, noted garden writer and horticulture instructor, states that "This collected water will soak into the ground and not flow away and be lost. And, because this water stays in your yard, it will continue to water your plants. Saving your runoff water also ensures this water does not pollute lakes and rivers with any pesticides and fertilizers you have applied." Choose plants for your rain garden that tolerate extremes of wet and dry. Your local nursery will help you make these selections.
* Sustainable Plant Selection
Choose locations where your plants will grow best. Every plant is genetically predisposed to grow best in a certain environment. Take a look at plant tags while at your nursery. These tags note the best planting location for that variety. Locating plants where they grow best reduces the need for soil amendments and other inputs.
* Sustainable Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is another aspect of Sustainable Landscaping. One tenet for IPM is to treat pests only as they multiply to damaging levels. Another is to, when possible, use natural pest control measures. This lessens the environmental impact of pest management. IPM techniques can be used against insect, weed and disease invaders. Contact your local county Horticultural Extension Agent for IPM information specific to your area.
* Sustainable Fertilizer
Selecting the right fertilizer is an important part of a Sustainable Landscape. Most common fertilizers are manufactured from non-renewable resources such as natural gas and mined minerals. You're really better off choosing fertilizers that are derived primarily from natural sources which recycle their nutrients rather than discarding them in a landfill. "Milorganite 6-2-0 and Milorganite GardenCare 6-2-0 fit the bill," says Mike Archer of Milorganite. "They provide plants with the types of nutrients they need, such as slow release nitrogen, to help them grow to their full potential."
* Sustainable Water
Planting a rain garden, which retains water and allows it to soak into your soil, is one way to practice Sustainable Water. Another technique is to balance the water needs of plants with the amount of rainfall you normally receive. Placing mulch around landscape plants to help cool their roots and retain needed moisture is another good practice. To encourage plant roots to grow deep, water to rooting depth. This also helps reduce watering frequency.
* Sustainable Lawn Maintenance
You can do several things to maintain your lawn in a sustainable manner. Use fertilizers manufactured from recycled materials. Make use of grass varieties that do not need high amounts of nitrogen and water. Apply fertilizer that is high in non-staining iron, such as Milorganite 6-2-0 containing 4 percent iron. This will give your lawn and landscape plants a deep green color without excessive top growth. Reducing the amount of top growth also reduces the amount of nitrogen and water your lawn requires. Remove 1/3 of the grass at each mowing. This helps grass recover quickly. Also, make sure your mower blade is sharp. A sharp blade makes a clean cut that heals quickly, which reduces the opportunity for disease to enter.
* More fun!
How does this all lead to more fun? Easy! By lessening the impact of landscaping and raising plants that do well in your area, whether they are native or introduced, allows you create an environment where local wildlife thrives. Whether they are butterflies, song birds, or furry creatures, you and your yard will enjoy these new visitors. And that is fun!
Courtesy of ARA Content