Proper lawn and garden care is necessary for reducing our waste, creating a beautiful landscape, and maintaining healthy lakes, streams, and other water bodies. Here are some tips for environmentally friendly lawn and garden practices.
Plant with diversity. A large array of plants and flowers will bring in various birds and beneficial insects, and is best for pest control. Yellow, blue, and purple flowers attract bees. Red and orange flowers help recruit hummingbirds. Keep native plants in mind when landscaping.
Water your lawn in early morning to reduce the amount that evaporates away. Note that in Michigan, most lawns need 10-15 minutes of watering on dry days only.
Stay away from fertilizers high in nitrogen since this is highly soluble, and will likely end up washing away into our water systems. Also purchase fertilizers with low or zero phosphorous levels. Fertilizers that enter the water accelerate eutrophication,
which is an abundant accumulation of nutrients that support a dense growth of algae and other organisms. This algae then decays, depleting oxygen in the water harming plant life and fish.
Use rain gardens to prevent storm water runoff into the Township water bodies.
Keep you lawn long (approx. 3 inches) to choke out short weeds and hold in moisture.
Return grass clippings to your lawn rather than collecting them for waste. The nutrients will help your lawn grow and stay healthy. It is recommended you trim no more than 1/3 the length of your lawn. Also cut only on dry days and keep your mower's blade sharp. Torn grass is more susceptible to disease.
If you are hiring a lawn care service, call the Michigan Department of Agriculture at 517.373.1087 to verify if complaints were put on the company in the past.
Start a compost using food scraps, lawn clippings, and dead leaves. When put into gardens, compost holds moisture, allows drainage, and provides nutrients - a friendly alternative to chemicals.
Plant a tree! Trees reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide from the air. They will shade your home, keeping it cooler in summer, and they protect your home from frigid winters. This will reduce your use of AC or heating. It is also suggested that trees increase the resale value of homes because of the aesthetic value.
Collect rainwater for watering your garden. Rainwater is usually more healthy for plants than what comes out of your tap because it doesn't have all the treatment additives in it that make it safe for drinking. Rain barrels are a fresh and attractive option for collecting the water from your gutters and they will save you money on your water bills.
Try minimizing pesticides by using more natural approaches to pest control. Visit eartheasy.com for advice on common pests. Regular weeding and mulching can often eliminate the need for any pesticides.