Plant and maintain healthy yards to maximize the health of the entire ecosystem
This includes not only the plants, but the water, soil, insects, birds, and humans. Because they are more natural, healthy yards become easier to care for, support biodiversity, and are more fun to enjoy.
Pesticide use is harmful to humans and pets and is linked to cancer, hormone imbalance and neurological problems. Pesticide applications are bad for soil health and kill good microorganisms along with natural predators of pests. Pesticides also kill the beneficial insects and pollinators as well as insects our birds need to survive.
Use natural, less harmful methods to take care of problems with insects and diseases in plants. Planting more resilient plants will also help.
Because trees, plants, grasses and other living things soak up carbon and store it in the ground, healthy soil and proper land management practices are an essential part of the climate solution – whether in your own yard, by the farmer who grows your food, or by the stewards who manage our land.
Carbon rich soil should be full of organic matter and microorganisms that support a healthy plant life. Our resources page has some actions you can take to assess (test) and improve your soil to increase your land’s water and carbon retention value. You will also have healthier plants.
First, learn more about what soil has to do with climate change from Kiss the Ground.
Rather than using toxic chemical fertilizers, lawns and gardens can be nourished with grass clippings and leaves mulched on the lawn, or by sprinkling in compost.
Compost not only gives your lawn and plants nutrients, but it also helps retain moisture, creates better soil structure and it feeds the microorganisms in the soil that help store carbon.
If you have native plants, grasses and groundcovers that are adapted to the local conditions, and mow high, you should not need fertilizers or other amendments.
Another good strategy is to decrease the size of your lawn over time and plant a native garden which will create habitat and sequester more CO2.
Professional landscapers often have limited knowledge of healthy yard practices and offer mow and blow services and chemical treatments to move quickly, keep prices low, and keep yards looking neat and tidy. However, whatever savings are gained from this kind of yard care there is a great cost to the environment, biodiversity, and the climate.
Take time to discuss your yard with your landscaper, and explain the principles that you follow in your yard.
If your landscaper suggests a “natural” solution to pests or to fertilize, be sure to ask to see the container that the product comes in and research what it is and exactly what is being applied to your property.
If you cannot find a landscaper who will agree to care for your yard the way that you would like, check out the landscaping information in our resources section.