Dan Sharp (Green Family Expert) gives expert video advice on: What alternative methods can I use to get rid of bugs and rodents in my yard?; What are the alternatives to using my gas powered lawnmower? and more...
What is 'native landscaping'?
Native landscaping uses plants that are indigenous to your region and also suited to your local climate, so that provides a lot of benefits. The wildlife that are native to the area are used to those plants and often need those in order to survive. It also cuts down on your water use because, if they're native to your region, whatever type of rainfall you have will be adequate to provide for those plants. The other good thing is that, unlike a lot of plants that are irrigated, they don't tend to grow to an unruly size. Unlike a hedge, if you plant a native bush or a native tree, you just let it go and let it do what it normally does. It reduces your yard work, it reduces your yard waste, and it also can really, really help conserve on the amount of water you use.
What is a 'deciduous tree'?
A deciduous tree is a tree that loses its leaves in the winter. It provides a lot of benefits because in the summer, when it's hot and you need shade, the leaves are on the tree and provide that shade. In the winter, you may want the sun to come and hit your house to cause that warmth. So a deciduous tree will provide shade in the summer, and allow the sun to shine through in the winter.
What are 'petroleum-based fertilizers'?
Petroleum-based fertilizers are derived from petroleum and through a chemical process that then creates the chemicals that are good as far as fertilizing plants. However, in order to make petroleum-based fertilizers you first have to extract the petroleum from the ground. You end up transporting that long distances, which contributes to additional pollution. In addition, petroleum-based fertilizers are often applied very heavily which can contaminate runoff if it rains or if during irrigation that water runs off into the storm sewers or into the creeks and rivers around your community.
What alternative methods can I use to get rid of bugs and rodents in my yard?
There's a lot of different ways to get rid of pests and rodents around your house that don't necessarily require the use of harsh chemicals. For instance, some aphids or some garden pests can be controlled by introducing predators, for instance ladybugs, to eat aphids. If you introduce those into your garden, you will likely cut down on your aphid population. Another thing, in the house a lot of animals, a lot of insects don't like the smell of orange oil, those types of things. So definitely investigate what some other alternatives are to using something rather than picking up a can of raid. Maybe you can sprinkle something like boric acid. It's not as toxic around, and it will prevent animals or insects from coming in.
Are gas-powered lawnmowers bad for the environment?
Most people don't realize it, but lawn equipment and small gasoline-powered engines have a tremendous impact on the environment. It's mainly because they don't have a lot of the emission controls that even newer vehicles have. For instance, running your average size lawnmower for about an hour is equivalent to driving a newer car over 300 miles. One way to get an idea of the impact of this is in the L.A. area, which is a big area, where all of the lawn equipment used each day produces more pollution than all of the airplane traffic in the area.
What are the alternatives to using my gas powered lawnmower?
There are a couple of alternatives to using gas-powered lawn equipment. One of the easiest ways to go and still get a very similar performance is by using electric lawn equipment. You can get electric hedgers, you can get electric lawn mowers, you can even get some that are better powered-by batteries too so you're not necessarily attached to a cord in order to you use them. Even better than that, that doesn't use electricity, which also is going to have an environmental impact, you can use human-powered stuff. So get out the regular hedge trimmers or get a push lawnmower - any of those things. Especially if you have a smaller lawn, it can be a really, really effective alternative.
What is 'grasscycling'?
Grasscycling is the concept of instead of taking your lawn clippings and sending them to a landfill- that you use those for an alternative use. The easiest way to do that is with a mulching lawnmower. A mulching lawnmower will kick the grass clippings back up and cut them a whole bunch of times and turn them into little tiny pieces that fall back in and nourish the lawn. You can also do it by cutting it with a regular lawnmower and allowing that to go back in. If you don't have either of those you can take your grass clippings from the catcher of your lawnmower and put it into a composter. Then you won't be contributing to adding those grass clippings to the landfill.