By Lisa Burns of Backyard Getaway
It seems simple, plant a garden & you’re helping the environment. The truth is what you plant will determine how much you will need to water, fertilize & spray for pests. It is important to know how your landscape & gardening practices can have both positive & negative effects on the environment. Below are several sustainable gardening tips you can adopt that will help you conserve & protect our natural resources.
Mulch helps to keep water in the soil rather than evaporating into the air, which will cut down on watering needs. As mulch breaks down, it will provide nutrients to the soil, which can help reduce the need for fertilizing. Make sure you use mulch that is from sustainable forestry practices like Melaleuca Mulch, not Cyprus mulch. Melaleuca or Punk Tree is an invasive tree here in Florida (since I am Florida based).
Reducing Lawn Areas
This is my favorite tip! Lawns require frequent maintenance… mowing, fertilizing & chemicals to kill weeds & pests. Planting native wildflowers, bushes & trees to replace lawn areas will reduce the need to mow. Gas lawnmowers produce greenhouse gases, which contribute to the air pollution that causes global warming. Or better yet add a water garden to replace the lawn area. A pond provides food, water & cover for wildlife & plants. Having native plants in your garden will help you to maintain a healthy, natural ecosystems and reduces your time and labor working on the lawn leaving you more time to enjoy it!
Xeriscaping is an approach to landscaping that minimizes outdoor watering while maintaining soil integrity through the use of native, drought-tolerant plants. With our current watering restrictions this is the best way to have a beautiful yard without the need for daily watering.
Removing Invasive Plants
When exotic or non-native plants are used, they can upset the delicate balance of a local ecosystem and sometimes will push out native plants to the point of extinction. Wildlife benefit when native plant communities are restored to their natural habitats, providing the best source of food for wildlife. Non-native plants will also require more work than native plants.
To conserve water you should water, only on your designated day, with a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system. You will have less water evaporation than you would with a sprinkler, and it will provide targeted watering. Also, you should use a timing device with your watering system. Another great way to conserve water is to install a rain barrel that catches rainfall from your roof. The collected water can be used to water your garden.
Most of all, enjoy and have fun! I am available to answer questions. Our website is: www.backyardgetaway.net