Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Clean Water Is Up To You: Brown Lawn? Here’s How To Really Go Green!

Watering home landscapes makes up almost a third of home water use in America, nearly nine billion gallons a day nationwide. 

When you add the unhealthy effects of pesticides and fertilizers on safe, abundant drinking water, lawns have a lot of explaining to do.

After a summer of brown grass and endless watering, here’s an idea – go on a lawn diet.

Quit the finicky mowing around trees and shrubs. You can dig up the sod out to the drip line, or just let falling leaves accumulate and shade out the grass. 

You’ll save on mowing, chemicals, and on raking.

Where the grass really browned out this year, let that area go a little wild. Plant some native meadow grasses like switchgrass, little bluestem, and indiangrass this fall.  

Add a few clumps of Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, and bee balm. And welcome any volunteers that show up, like phlox, daisies and black-eyed susans. 

In a year or two, you’ll have a no-maintenance native meadow.

What about those moist shady areas where you struggle to get the darned grass to grow?  Give up the fight!  

A few native rhododendrons will thrive there, along with tall ostrich ferns, hay scented fern, native wild ginger, and wild geranium. 

Decide where you actually need some turf grass, based on what you and your family enjoy. Maybe that means a patch of lawn for games, outdoor dining, stargazing, or playing with the dog. 

Connect those areas to your house, garage, and shed with grassy walkways.  You’ll have an interesting, functional, low-maintenance yard that’s good for birds and pollinators, drinking water, and humans. 

Did you know that running a typical gas lawn mower or leaf blower for an hour pollutes as much as driving a car 300 miles?  

In the spring, you could retire that old machine, and go to a rechargeable electric.  

No maintenance, ear-splitting noise, or breathing in those fumes — and lots of time saved to enjoy the new peace and quiet of your natural surroundings.

The Clean Water Is Up To You series is published by Brodhead Watershed Association.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Brodhead Watershed Association website or Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Association.  Click Here to become a member.

Resource Links:

-- DCNR ‘Let It Grow’ Educational Video

-- Evaluate Your Property For Honey Bees With Penn State’s Beescape

-- Pollinator Gardens: Help Encourage Ecological Diversity In Your Own Backyard [Videos]

-- Gardening For Butterflies: Penn State Extension

-- Planting For Pollinators: Penn State Extension

-- Penn State Extension Master Gardeners

-- Penn State Pollinator Garden Certification

-- Audubon PA: Bird Habitat Recognition Program

-- Chesapeake Bay Sustainable Landscape Professional Directory

-- Manada Conservancy In Dauphin County Offers Pollinator/Native Plant Landscape Design Service [Recommended]

Related Article:

-- Nature At Risk: Your Small Changes Can Help Bring Monarchs Back - By Brodhead Watershed Association, Monroe County  [PaEN]

[Posted: August 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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