- How to Greenscape
- Non-Point Source Pollution Basics
- Pesticides and Your Health
- Controlling Pests in Your Garden
- Using Pesticides Safely
- Protecting Children
- Nitrogen Challenge for Golf Courses
- Be Green Organic Yards NY
Each year, American homeowners spend hundreds of hours caring for their lawns and gardens. While this results in many beautiful green spaces, landscaping can produce huge amounts of waste in the form of grass clippings, leaves, branches, and fertilizer and pesticides containers. Pesticides and fertilizers can also wash from our lawns and gardens into our waterways, estuaries and oceans. These water sources can then become contaminated. This is an example of what EPA refers to as non-point source pollution. Non-point source pollution is run-off that does not come from a specific source, such as a factory pipe.
Due to the environmental and health risks posed by this problem, EPA has developed recommendations for safer yard care. EPA encourages a type of landscaping called "greenscaping" that helps reduce these environmental risks while still preserving the beauty and health of our outdoor spaces. EPA believes that a properly managed or "greenscaped" garden not only helps the environment, it also saves money.
In Region 2 there are many important estuaries and other bodies of water threatened by non-point source pollution from fertilizer and pesticide use. This page serves as a portal to EPA's information on greenscaping, pesticide and fertilizer use, and other lawn and garden related topics. More environmentally friendly lawn and garden practices will help us preserve important ecological resources.
Lawn Care Tips
- Minimize lawn areas, replacing turf with native and other low maintenance plantings.
- Improve soil structure by aerating your lawn and top dressing with compost.
- Grasscycle - leave grass clippings in place (don't bag) when mowing.
- Use the least toxic method for weed and pest control (such as hand pulling).
- Cut lawn no shorter than 3" to encourage deep roots.
- Don't over water lawns (excess water washes out soil nutrients).
If you choose to fertilize or use pesticides:
- Test your soil annually before any application of fertilizer.
- Apply products sparingly, no more than 2 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year, for example.
- Choose organic fertilizers that slowly release nutrients over time.
- Read, understand, and follow all pesticide product labeling.
- Avoid run-off - do not apply fertilizers or pesticides within 100 feet of surface waters or wetlands, when the ground is frozen or when there is a chance of rain.