Green gardens, pollution free

As you care for your yard and garden, you likely are proud of the hard work you do to keep them clean and beautiful. However, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals that are left on yards or driveways can be blown or washed into storm drains that flow to the ocean. Overwatering lawns can also send materials into storm drains.

When this happens, your beautiful garden may unfortunately lead to damage to streams and oceans. Unlike water in sanitary sewers (wastewater from sinks and toilets), water that runs off into storm drains is not treated before entering our waterways. You would never pour gardening products directly into the ocean, so don’t let them enter the storm drains. Follow these easy tips to help prevent water pollution:

• Do not overwater. Use irrigation practices such as drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or micro spray systems. Periodically inspect and fix leaks and adjust misdirected sprinklers.
• Do not rake or blow leaves, clippings, or pruning waste into the street, gutter, or storm drain. Instead, dispose of green waste by composting in your backyard or placing it in a green waste cart if collected at curbside in your community.
• Use slow-release fertilizers to minimize leaching and use organic fertilizers.
• Read labels on lawn chemicals and use them only as directed. Do not over-apply pesticides or fertilizers. Apply to spots as needed, rather than blanketing an entire area.
• Rinse empty pesticide containers and reuse the rinse water as you would use the product. Do not pour rinse water down storm drains. Dispose of empty containers in the trash.
• When available, use non-toxic alternatives to traditional pesticides, and use pesticides specifically designed to control the pest you are targeting. For natural remedies, visit 8 Natural & Homemade Insecticides.
• If fertilizer is spilled, sweep up the spill before irrigating. If the spill is liquid, apply an absorbent material, such as cat litter, to the spill and then sweep it up and dispose of it in the trash.
• Take unwanted pesticides to a household hazardous waste collection center or collection event for proper disposal.

Photo credit: Saklakova | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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