By John Butler
If you are like me, you want a beautiful lawn and garden that are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Greenscaping allows you to do just that while reducing harmful effects on the environment. Greenscaping uses simple measures that help you practice responsible lawn and garden care.
First, get to know your lawn and garden. Different grasses and other plants grow well in different environments. Research native plants that will flourish where you live. Your local nursery or County Extension Service likely can help.
Don’t water your lawn or garden in the evening. Dampness overnight can encourage disease. Whenever possible, water in the early morning before 10 a.m. This will help prevent the grass and plants from drying out during the day.
Long, deep watering is better than short, frequent watering because it encourages strong, deep roots. An easy test is to walk on your lawn. If you see footprints, it needs watering. One inch of water per week is sufficient. And remember, during drought conditions, letting the lawn go dormant is okay – it will recover.
Weeds in the lawn raise your dander? Here is a quick trick: simply raise your mower height. Three inches is ideal and leads to stronger roots and a more lush lawn. As a true greenscaper, I leave the grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. This can save water and money, and reduce the need for fertilizers and weed killers.
As for pesticides, don’t assume that you need them just because you see a bug. Some bugs are not harmful. Here again, your local nursery or County Extension Service can likely provide guidance. Always consider natural products for pest problems before choosing a chemical solution. If you do need to use pesticides, absolutely make sure you read the label and apply accordingly.
Incorporating these simple practices into your lawn and garden care can make a big difference for the environment and can save you money.
To get the rest of the dirt on Greenscaping go to: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/greenscapes. You can also listen to our podcast at: http://www.epa.gov/region03/multimedia/playercontents/audio/Greenscaping2.html. And, to learn more about integrated pest management go to: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/ipm.htm.
About the author: John Butler is the Regional Pesticide Expert for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.