On April 22nd everyone starts thinking about going green, but what does that really mean? It can be so overwhelming to think about ways to be more environmentally friendly that we just put off thinking about it until another day - which never comes.
One simple thing that we can do at home or at our business is reduce polluting behavior. That sounds like a major lifestyle change, but there are some simple things we can all do to reduce water pollution from one of the biggest culprits, the lawn.
1. Have your soil tested
Most people over-fertilize their lawns, and the excess fertilizer ends up being washed away. If you have your soil tested, you can tailor your application to what your lawn actually needs.
2. Fertilize only when and where it is needed
Many people will apply fertilizer to their lawns as part of their spring ritual, but fertilizer should actually be applied in the fall as most lawns only need one feeding. Be careful only to apply to areas that need it, and don't spill over onto your sidewalk and driveway, because that gets washed away, too.
3. Recycle your clippings
Grass clippings contain nitrogen, which are good fertilizer for the lawn. Recycling them by leaving them on the lawn cuts down on the amount of fertilizer you ultimately need.
4. Consider using compost instead of commercial fertilizer
Not only is compost the ultimate in recycling, it reduces the amount of chemicals that are at risk for draining into the watershed.
5. Don't trim grass too closely
Cutting the grass too closely makes the roots shallower and increases the need for fertilizer.
6. Reduce the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides
Much like fertilizer, these should be used sparingly, if at all. Weeds can be pulled up or dug up, or a vinegar solution can be sprayed directly on the offending plant. Natural pest control, ranging from encouraging friendly insects (like ladybugs) or using cornstarch to discourage pests is better for the environment, and cheaper, too.
7. Landscape with native trees and shrubs
Utilizing native plants reduces the need to water and pamper plants that may not be properly acclimatized for your area.
8. Reduce lawn size
Landscape larger areas with native trees, shrubs, and grasses. These plants provide visual interest, while cutting down on the expanse of lawn that needs watering and fertilizing.
Make a greener choice this Earth Day. With just a few changes, you can reduce unseen pollution and benefit your bank account, too.