Tips for Greener, Healthier Lawns and Gardens

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
By Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Many Americans spend countless hours each year tending to their lawns and gardens.

Nothing frustrates a gardener more than the destructive capabilities of unwanted pests. They come in many forms, like weeds, insects, animals, molds and fungi ̶ just to name a few.

As you think about the best way to deal with pests in your garden or lawn, you may want to consider integrated pest management (IPM). IPM is a holistic, environmentally friendly, commonsense approach that focuses on pest prevention and only uses pesticides when necessary. IPM strategies allow you to manage pest damage using methods with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Try these helpful tips when managing your green spaces:

Green Scaping - The Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard

  • Outcompete weeds. A healthy lawn can compete with most weeds.
    1. Develop healthy soil
    2. Choose a grass that thrives in your climate
    3. Mow high, often and with sharp blades
    4. Water deeply, but not often
  • Choose pest-resistant plants. Many garden centers offer informa¬tion about pest-resistant plant variet¬ies. After the plants are established, they’ll save you time and money on pest control. And, some plants have their own pest resistant properties. For example, lavender is thought to help repel some mosquitoes, moths and other insects.
  • Choose plants that grow well in your region based on the amount of sun, type of soil, and water available in your yard.
  • Know your pests. Only about 5-15 % of the bugs in your yard are pests. “Good bugs,” like ladybugs and praying mantises, help control pests.

If you do choose to use a pesticide, ensure that you use it with care to get the most benefit. Reduce any risks by first always reading and following label instructions. Use only the amount instructed on the label and avoid overuse. When you have a small problem area, treat just that area, not the entire yard.

Share your photos of healthy lawns and gardens with us on Twitter @EPAChemSafety!

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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