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Landscape conservation
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"Traditional gardening, landscaping and landscape maintenance practices are often driven by outdated aesthetic fashion and shortsighted economic interests, with little ethical consideration. As a result, our traditional practices are often quite harmful to our health and the environment in general." - from the EPA

What can you do to help protect our natural environment? This is a checklist or summary of the basic conservation landscape practices; see how many of these concepts you have tried to do. Keep score to see if you are an environmentalist:

1. Reduce or eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.-10 Pts.

2. Minimize the amount of lawn.-5 Pts.

3. Minimize the use of supplemental watering.-5 Pts.

4. Avoid the use of and remove and replace invasive plants. -5 Pts.

5. Use regionally native plants (13 Coastal Counties of Georgia) - 5 Pts.

6. Place plants in appropriate growing conditions. - 5 Pts.

7. Reduce the use of power landscape equipment. -5 Pts.

8. Utilize native trees to reduce heating and cooling needs. -5 Pts.

9. Compost to reduce yard waste and use it as a soil amendment. - 5 Pts.

10. Reduce the amount of impervious surface. -5 Pts.

11. Install rain gardens to recharge groundwater and reduce runoff. -5 Pts.

12. Protect existing natural areas and the watersheds "sense of place." - 5 Pts.

13. Mulch to conserve water, suppress weeds, improve soil structure, and to lessen erosion. - 5 Pts.

14. Reduce runoff and soil erosion and stabilize slopes by planting native trees, shrubs, and perennial ground covers in swales and on terraces, in addition to level and raised areas.-5 Pts.

15. Purify the air and water by planting native trees, shrubs, and perennials. -5 Pts.

16. Provide wildlife habitat by planting native species. -5 Pts.

17. Maintain native plant gardens and plan for long term. - 5 Pts.

18. Learn to appreciate nature and tolerate some imperfections in the garden. -10 Pts.

What is your score? If you have scored 50 or less I would say you are a very good environmental steward. Between 50 and 75 you are at least trying. Seventy-five-plus you are in my league - but we can change. The higher the score the more damage we are doing to our environment. And to be honest with you, my score was terrible.

I hope in the next few articles I will be able to address each concept of the checklist and try to give alternatives or tips to help us change our landscaping habitats.


David Moulder is the Bryan County Extension agent.




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