Going green seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. The following are some good ideas to consider when working outdoors that will help make our planet a better place, regardless of where you fall on the organic scale:
- Skip the Phosphorous When you Fertilize. Fertilizing your lawn can be environmentally friendly provided you choose your fertilizer carefully and apply it correctly. As far as your lawn is concerned, the nutrients in a synthetic fertilizer are really no different than the nutrients in an organic variety. When you look at any bag of fertilizer, you will see a series of three numbers on the label. Nitrogen, the first number, is the key ingredient for lawn growth. The second number – phosphorous (P) – is the component that the Earth conscious homeowner should look at.
High phosphorous levels in streams, lakes and ponds cause rapid plant growth that chokes out fish and other water life. Keeping phosphorous out of water is the goal. So what can you do? Purchase a fertilizer that contains very little or no phosphorous. In most cases, your soil has enough available phosphorous which makes additions unnecessary. In the series of numbers on the label, look for a second number of 0.
- Read Fertilizer Labels Carefully. One noteworthy point for any concerned homeowner is that a fertilizer made from an organic source may now be less “green” than a synthetic fertilizer. If the organic source has a 5:1 ratio of nitrogen to phosphorous, and the synthetic source is 15:1, it is easy to see you are applying three times more phosphorous with the presumed “safe” organic choice. Learning to read the label is the key.
- Mulch Your Grass Clippings. This sounds pretty simple, and you may have been doing it all along with your mulching mower, but if you are bagging clippings you are taking away valuable nutrients that would simply be recycled back into the lawn. Mulch can save you one or two fertilization applications per season. Most newer mowers come equipped with a mulching blade that can be used to mulch leaves. In fact, recent tests have shown that some leaves, especially those from sugar and red maple trees, provide a natural form of weed control when mulched back into the lawn.
- Sweep up all Fertilizer and Grass Clippings from Hard Surfaces. When grass clippings or fertilizer are left on driveways, sidewalks or streets, rain may wash them into the sewer system and eventually area waterways. If you spill fertilizer or grass clippings on your driveway, sweep it up and place it in a flowerbed.
- Plant Something. Trees, shrubs and flowers – all add beauty to your home while providing wildlife habitat and preventing soil erosion. Trees are great for the environment – they reduce pollution while helping to cool your home in the summer.
Article courtesy of Briggs & Stratton