By Jakob Barry, guest blogger
Pollution isn’t something that’s generally found in the yard and garden but depending on how a property is managed it may be more widespread than realized.
How so? As a homeowner maintains his property he may unknowingly use certain methods for achieving a goal which actually hurt the environment. The result is a landscape which appears robust and full of beauty but nevertheless could be greener in the eco-friendly sense.
For instance consider the following issues and how a more sustainable approach could benefit homes and the communities in general.
Many homeowners still use motorized equipment which run on gasoline such as:
- Lawn mowers
- Weed whackers
- Leaf blowers
This is despite the fact exhaust pollutes the air and whomever is operating the equipment is in the direct path of fumes as motors burn fuel. Options do exist to minimize the damage but the number one sustainable alternative to filling gas tanks and powering them up is going with manual versions of the same devices. Sometimes, either because of the size of the property or the fact a person doesn’t have the strength doing things manually may not be practical.
Nevertheless, in all other cases using manual tools like a reel mower to cut the lawn will lower pollution levels giving the operator, neighbors, and even surrounding vegetation a breath of fresh air.
Pesticides kill bugs but as anyone from Indianapolis to South Bend with pest control experience will tell you, many of these substances are laden with harmful chemicals that will kill desirable insects too.
The same goes for chemical based herbicides which won’t distinguish between species of vegetation, not to mention the potential they have for contaminating soil, water resources, and sometimes going airborne contributing to respiratory illnesses.
While the effects of these herbicides and pesticides on the environment is reflected by the level of exposure the fact they have such a history should be a motivating factor towards trying more natural methods including some of the following:
- Finding eco-friendly brands
- Making your own using household staples such as salt, vinegar, and baking soda
- Using natural substances such a diatomaceous earth
- Companion planting
Finally, fertilizers are supposed to help plants grow but though many of the non-organic brands produce results it is believed they do more harm than good. There’s still a lot of research being done but what’s clear is that the chemicals they contain not only taint soil and contaminate drinking water but in some cases shouldn’t even be handled without protective gear!
Does that sound like something you want to put in your vegetable beds?
One quick example is the addition of nitrogen to many fertilizers which results in excess amounts of nitrates. Modest levels of nitrates are ok but anything more creates unhealthy conditions for both people consuming affected food or water and for soil which often ends up depleted and infertile by season’s end.
To steer clear of the wrong kinds of fertilizers do a little research about the brand you’re considering, check what’s in them, or ask your local home & garden professional which does the least harm.
Otherwise the best fertilizer that is both healthy and sustainable is the DIY kind made from compost or if it’s available manure or seaweed.
Either way, being a little more vigilant in this area is one of the ways you can provide a safer yard and garden for the family, pets, and other wildlife that may be passing through. You’ll also be doing the community a service by helping keep the local ecosystem that much cleaner.
Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for Networx.com. Networx.com helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to fencing contractors and carpenters, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.