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Eco-Friendly landscaping tips to use this Spring

By May 22, 2013No Comments

Article from the South County Times

Eco-friendly or conservative landscaping is growing increasingly popular among homeowners. Home-owners looking to landscape in a more eco-friendly way this gardening season can employ the following techniques.

Remove invasive plants. Exotic plants are often invasive, as they have been brought here from different ecosystems and therefore have no natural enemies to keep them under control. Though exotic plants might add significant aesthetic appeal, this may come at the expense of local wildlife and existing plants. Many mistakenly assume all non-native plants are invasive, but that’s not always true. Consult a local nursery before removing a foreign plant to determine if it’s invasive or non-invasive. If it’s non-invasive, it does not need to be removed.

Choose native plants whenever possible. Native plants have adapted to the local climate and soil, which can offer numerous eco-friendly benefits. Because they’re accustomed to native conditions, native plants do not need chemical fertilizers and require less water to thrive than their non-native counterparts, which have not adapted to the climate and soil and, as a result, need help to grow and survive. In addition, native plants won’t harm surrounding wildlife or plants.

Plant strategically. Plants can be very picky when it comes to growing conditions. If placed in poor growing conditions, plants will require chemical supplements to thrive and more water to survive. When planting, do so strategically. Find the appropriate light, moisture and soil conditions for any new plants, and then plant accordingly. Doing so requires less maintenance, saving you money while adding aesthetic appeal to your property. A local nursery can help find the right growing conditions for your plants.

Water properly. Far too often homeowners waste water, particularly when the mercury rises. Overwatering plants leads to excess runoff, which can result in pesticides and fertilizers being carried to local streams and rivers. Excessive watering can also filter nutrients from the soil. When watering, water early in the morning, which allows plants to conserve water throughout the day. Native plants that have established themselves should not need supplemental watering.

Reduce reliance on chemical pesticides. Pesticides should be a last resort. In addition to their potentially harmful effects on the local ecosystem, pesticides can be harmful to human health as well. Oftentimes, pesticides exacerbate pest problems, killing the beneficial species like earthworms that don’t recover as quickly as their more harmful pest counterparts. Only use pesticides if absolutely necessary. Consult a landscaping or gardening professional and ask about potential alternatives to pesticides.