In addition to dusting off your lawn mower and thinking about what you might want to plant in your gardens this year, there are also some things you can do in your yards that will have lasting positive effects on our environment.
Use Rain Barrels
A rain barrel is a collection system that captures stormwater to be used for watering gardens and lawns. They can be purchased at a garden center or hardware store, or even made fairly easily. Local garden clubs and/or universities often hold rain barrel workshops, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in using these at your home.
Build a Rain Garden
Rain gardens are bioretention areas, slightly graded to retain water, and filled with native plants. Not only do they look great in your landscape, but they also serve a very important purpose: they gather and store runoff rainwater until it can evaporate, be used by plants, or soak into the soil. Rain gardens are relatively easy to create in your yard; there are tons of great videos online that show exactly how to build them and what plants serve the best purpose.
Aerate Your Lawn
Core aeration is the process of using equipment to remove cores of soil from the ground, as a way to establish a deeper rooting system. This will promote groundwater recharge, reduce soil compaction, increase grass health, and allow your lawn to be more tolerant to drought conditions. Core aerators can be inexpensively bought or rented, and it is recommended that aeration is done one to two times per year when the soil is moist.
- Plant native vegetation
- Start a compost pile
- Use mulch to reduce water evaporation
- Water lawns in the morning or evening
- Keep storm drains free of debris and vegetation
- Stop or reduce use of pesticides and herbicides
- Pull weeds right after a rain storm to make it easier
- Wash your car at a facility. If you must do it at home, wash it on the grass
- Keep gutters and downspouts clean
- Use low-flow toilets and fixtures
- Raise your mower height to at least three inches
- Never, ever put chemicals, fertilizers, and other debris down storm drains. Today’s stormwater may be tomorrow’s drinking water.
Information provided by the Montgomery County Conservation District