Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - With Smarter Gardening Techniques
It’s confusing, when something that is green all over may not really be “good green”. When I look outside at my lawn, I automatically equate it with being eco-friendly and helping sustain the environment. The more green I see, the better off the world is right? As we are coming to see, this may in fact be somewhat of a myth depending on how you take care of your lawn or how your local government takes care of the park.
Lawn’s are for starters not the best use of space if you are looking to reduce you carbon footprint. They don’t absorb as much CO2 nor produce as much oxygen as other plants or trees. (Green Blizzard – Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Planting Trees)
A recent study at the University of California Irvine evaluated whether city parks were carbon absorbers (sinks) or carbon producers. The study found that parks were generally carbon neutral because of the resources to maintain them offsets the natural gains from the trees and shrubs. It concluded that fertilizers and watering used in maintaining the parks were the major negative offsets to the positive impact of the plants.
Some tips to help reduce the carbon footprint of your lawn: 1. Avoid using gas mowers – use push mowers wherever possible. The huge carbon footprint spewed out by these polluters makes it difficult to offset the negative impact during the course of the year through your plants. 2. Fertilizer selection is key. The best fertilizer you can use is to leave the clippings on the grass after cutting. This serves as a natural fertilizer and it’s free and a simple way of recycling; your grass is recycled as fertilizer to promote the growth of more grass! However if you want to fertilize your lawn beyond that natural cycle there are some environmentally friendly choices on the market. Bear in mind that some recent studies have concluded that organic fertilizers are sometimes worse for the environment than synthetic. The manufacturing and transportation of fertilizer is fossil fuel intensive and some estimate that using fertilizer on your lawn has a carbon footprint equivalent of burning 80 gallons of fuel every year. Why not start composting and avoid the whole manufacturing and transportation impact of fertilizer? There are a lot of different ways in which you can fertilize your lawn for less money and a smaller carbon footprint, so think twice about applying fertilizers. 3. Try and grow Zoysia grass or other types of slow growing grasses. They need less mowing, which means less effort, but its not green in the colder months. Even better, they don’t need as much watering, which helps to reduce your carbon footprint 4. If you have an automatic system to water your plants, try and do so in the early morning before the heat sets in. This will allow the water time to soak into the ground before the sun starts to evaporate it, and this saves you money, water, and carbon footprint. 5. Reduce the area of grass. Rather than have a huge lawn that requires mowing and watering, look into planting some trees to take up space. They are better carbon sinks and if you choose properly they require very little maintenance. So who would have thought that mowing, watering, and fertilizing your little patch of paradise are the three reasons why your green can become neutral or detrimental to the environment. Check out the Green Blizzard Lifestyle Section about Organic Gardening to learn about environmental insights on mowers, trees, composting, and fertilizers. With a little more knowledge and smarter gardening practices, you can be sure that your lawn can help you reduce your carbon footprint!