The desire to have beautiful gardens and yards is centuries old. But the modern-day reality is that our love of our yards is destructive to our planet. Lawn mowers are more polluting than cars, chemical fertilizers and pesticides damage our watersheds, and many of our plant choices require much effort to sustain them, yet they don’t benefit our native birds, butterflies, or other wildlife.
The following information is provided in an effort to assist the Bellaire resident in developing more environmentally friendly and sustainable gardens and yards.
Lawn Care Water Less - Over watering is a primary cause of diseased lawns. The U.S. water supply is threatened, in part, by the belief that lawns need more water than they really do. Only water grass when it looks wilted. A good rule of thumb is to water no more than once per week, early in the morning, and not when it is windy.
Mulching Mower - By using a mower that mulches grass, those clippings remain on the lawn to become free fertilizer. Set the mowing height no lower than 2.5 to 3.5 inches for St. Augustine grass. Grass that's cut too short becomes subject to pests and diseases.
Organic Fertilizer - Avoid synthetic fertilizer, which is made from fossil fuels. The runoff from synthetic fertilizer contributes to the polluting of local creeks and bays. Organic fertilizers are richer and release nutrients more slowly. Yards treated with organic fertilizer require much less water.
Gardening Go Native - Plants that are native to Southeast Texas are hardier, healthier, and need less water than the typical landscape plants found at most nurseries. Natives not only take less time out of your busy schedules, but they are also wildlife friendly. Bees, birds, butterflies and other creatures benefit from access to native plants that are slowly disappearing from our land.
Low-volume irrigation (LVI), or micro-irrigation, is a method of watering a garden or landscape using lower water pressure than standard sprinkler systems. Water is conserved because it is distributed more slowly and targeted to plants’ root zones, preventing water runoff. LVI allows water to be absorbed into Bellaire’s slow-absorbing clay soil. LVI systems includes drip, trickle and mist emitters as well as sprayers that can be attached to conventional sprinkler systems.