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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: The Benefits of Greenscaping
Size: : 3,611k
Time: 03:52

Date:August 5, 2013

John Butler: I encourage everybody to practice green landscaping. It’s really very easy to do. Just a few simple steps and I think you will find that you are not only saving money but you are also helping the environment at the same time.

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Host: Hello, I’m Lena Kim your host for Environment Matters, EPA’s series of environmental podcasts.  Our guest is John Butler, from EPA’s mid-Atlantic region Pesticides Program.  John is an agronomist with expertise on the science of soil management and crop production – especially in lawns and gardens. We spoke with John in May about greenscaping and why these practices are important for you to consider. 

John Butler: Greenscaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices; Planting native species, building the soil, using mulch, grass recycling --these are all very easy things for any homeowner to do. So, think naturally, think of the habitat that’s there in your lawn and garden and what can you do to make things grow naturally.

Host: It all starts with good soil.

John Butler:  You want to get off to a good start.  You have good soil.  You’re using compost in the soil.  You’re choosing the right plants.  You’re fertilizing correctly.  Plants are going to survive, and be healthy, and be able to survive the challenges that lay ahead throughout the challenging summer, the pest, drought conditions and those kinds of things.

Host: Why should we choose native plants?

John Butler: Native species do well.  When you go to your nursery and you’re trying to decide what kind of plant material to plant in your landscape have that conversation with someone in the nursery.  Say, you know, I have these conditions; I’d like to plant something native.  Because native species are going to do better.  They are adaptive to the environment here in the Mid-Atlantic and the soil types and temperatures that we have and the kind of winters that we have.  It’s more likely that they will survive.

Host:  John, tell us about the challenges of pest control.

John Butler: Sometimes you have to use an insect control product or a disease control product. Now it’s really important for you to read that pesticide label and follow the label directions. And make sure that you’re using a pesticide product that is labeled for its use, say, in a vegetable garden, on a fruit or on a vegetable.  You know these are editable crops.  So make sure the product is labeled and register for that use. And it’s also important that you use it correctly

Host:  John, can you tell us some Greenscaping tips for lawns?

John Butler: We recommend mowing your grass at a height of three inches; better for the grass and encourages a deeper root systems so it can face those challenges of the dry summers,  but it also shades out the soils prevents any weed seed from germinating in your lawn.  There is a lot of research that has been conducted and shows that just raising the motor height a little bit it’s going to save you from having to do some weed control measures in your lawn.

Host: John discusses benefits of greenscaping.

John Butler: There are a lot of benefits to greenscaping. Obviously there’s a cost saving for the homeowner.  You’re using longer lasting reusable products.  You’re using you’re using perennials.  You’re planting ground covers, there’s also waste reduction we’re saving landfill space by practicing green landscaping.  You’re also conserving water and also saving energy. Green landscaping you don't need as many products.  You don’t need as much fertilizer because with grass cycling, we’re using soil-release fertilizers and we’re building good soils and let the plants do what they do best and that’s grow in their native environment.
 
Host: John gives us some websites for more information.

John Butler: The website I think that anybody can get information is I think there are actually two of them - epa.gov/greenscapes is one and another right here in our Mid-Atlantic region epa.gov/reg3esd1/garden    

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Host: Thank you, John, and thank you for listening to Environment Matters. EPA’s series of environmental podcasts.

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