Creating Sustainable Yards in the Fall
It’s the time of year when our yards start looking messy. Our suburban sense of order is ruined when flowers die and leaves fall. We feel like good citizens when we clean up our messy yards so that they look tidy and taken care of. These actions are taken to keep up with our human esthetic, however it stops the natural cycles that wildlife depend on. Since our yards are more critical than ever in helping sustain wildlife, we need to rethink our human desire to tidy up in order to help those critters and plants that benefit from the fallen leaves and dead plants.
Help Bees, Butterflies and Birds
Fallen leaves provide habitat to many insects and many butterflies over the winter. They live in the nooks and crannies over winter to emerge in the spring. Our birds are dependent on healthy insect populations to live and breed successfully. Massive bird declines are attributed to falling populations of insects. You can help the birds by what you do in your own yard.
Save Resources & Nourish the Soil by Mulching with Leaves
If you have small leaves you can put them intact in your flower beds. Larger leaves can be chopped up with a mulching mower and then put in the beds. It’s the cheapest mulch you can find and the leaves return nutrients to the soil as they decay. They also and help insulate surrounding plants from the cold. Too many leaves on the grass can be mulched back into the soil by running a mulching mower over them a couple of times. Saving these precious resources helps your garden, helps the environment, and reduces carbon and the expense of having trucks pick up leaves and take them away.
Reduce Air & Noise Pollution by Ditching the Gas Powered Leaf Blowers
Raking leaves is good for you and for the environment. Gas powered blowers are extremely loud and desiccate the soil and living organisms. Humans are also negatively affected by the small particulate matters stirred up by blowers. The two- stroke engines are many times more harmful to the environment in terms of exhaust than our cars. Many landscape workers are putting their health at risk by tidying up our yards. If you have a yard service, ask them not to use blowers on your property. If you must use blowers investigate battery powered mowers which are less harmful to humans.
Supporting Nesting Sites
The last benefit to not tidying up your yard is to the pollinators who nest in the stems of dead plants. You can help the bees by only cutting your plants to 1 foot high and leaving the stems for them to nest in the next year.
Creating a New Expectation
We can change the way we expect to see yards by gardening not only for ourselves but for the wildlife in our neighborhoods. A more natural looking yard slightly messy mayCAN one day be a badge of honor.
As you plan your lawn care for the coming season, we urge you to choose a natural lawn care company!
A natural lawn care company is one that will build the health and vitality of your lawn without the use of chemical herbicides or pesticides. If they are qualified, they will tell you how. PLEASE NOTE: A Company is not natural just because its name includes the word “green.”
Herbicides are chemicals used to prevent weeds from emerging in the lawn or kill existing weeds. Once applied, they not only kill weeds but persist in the soil. They also destroy the colonies of organisms in healthy soil that form the ‘soil food web’ and are meant to help keep soil healthy.
Now is the time to be shopping for and contracting with a natural lawn care company, in preparation for the spring season…soon to come.
You can find a company that serves Park Ridge! We know some. We recommend Nature’s Lawn Care at (773)606-3729 or Fertilizer King at (773)775-7467. More resources here.
They will help educate you about a very different approach that builds your soil, creates thick healthy grass and involves no dangerous chemicals. And they will help you control the tough weeds in a different way!
Ask your friends in Go Green Park Ridge. Visit some lawns. Did you know that the Park Ridge Park District turf is taken care of with virtually no chemicals? Visit a park today and check it out!
Yes, January is the time to make sure you will be saving money and building a healthy lawn, by doing one simple thing: make arrangements to save your own grass clippings!
Grass clippings provide approximately 25% of the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus needs of your grass.
Here’s how to ensure that you keep your valuable grass clippings:
If you make these plans now, you’ll be taking the first step to a healthier lawn.
Realize savings that your grass clippings provide and tweak your mowing services while there is still time.
You have the power to limit your contract to mowing only. If you haven't already, use this time of year to switch to an organic lawn care company for fertilization, aeration and other techniques that support a healthy and sustainable lawn.
Learn a bit more about natural lawn care here.