Caring for all the green and growing things in your yard and garden can have a big effect on how much waste your household creates. From grass clippings and leaves to pesticides and water, the eco-impact of your lawn and garden can be significant. In Oklahoma it is estimated that 20-30% of what we throw away is yard waste. Much of that waste can be reduced or composted to be used as mulch that you can recycle back into a lawn or garden.
Below are several websites that can help you reduce this ‘yard waste’ while at the same time increase your variety of native plants and grasses and diversity of habitat for wildlife such as birds and butterflies.
Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance
This is a great place to start and find where you can improve the most in regards to your lawn and garden care. They also have a website specifically addressing composting. Composting is easy and cheap, you can cut down your garbage by hundreds of pounds each year, and create a mixture that can be used to improve the soil.
Integrated Pest Management for Gardens
Gardens are microcosms in which plants, insects, bacteria, fungi, earthworms and a host of other organisms dwell. Most inhabitants are law-abiding citizens that go about their business and live in harmony with each other, just as in the human world. Only a few are thugs that exploit the others. For the most part, the good guys police the bad ones. But when populations get out of whack, problems crop up. And here’s where IPM – integrated pest management – comes in. It helps you maintain balance in your yard.
EPA site for Sustainable Landscaping
Local officials are in a position to advocate natural landscaping and bring its benefits to their communities. The source book explains the basic principles and benefits of natural landscaping; demonstrates the feasibility of using natural landscaping successfully; explains how local officials can provide leadership to encourage the use of natural landscaping; offers tools and techniques; and offers referrals to other sources of information and expertise.
United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Bringing conservation from the countryside to your backyard. Just as they do on the farm, conservation practices on nonagricultural land can help increase food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, control soil erosion, reduce sediment in waterways, conserve water and improve water quality, inspire a stewardship ethic, and beautify the landscape.
“Backyard Conservation” shows you how conservation practices that are used on agricultural land across the country to conserve and improve natural resources can be adapted for use on the land around your home. These practices help the environment and can make your yard more attractive and enjoyable.
Whether you have acres in the country, an average-sized suburban yard, or a tiny plot in the city, you can help protect the environment and add beauty and interest to your surroundings. Ten conservation practices have been scaled down for homeowners and city residents to use in their yards. Tip sheets offer “how to” steps and helpful hints.
Oklahoma Native Plant Society
The purpose of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society is to encourage the study, protection, propagation, appreciation and use of Oklahoma’s native plants.