As the owner of a landscaped business property, you know appearances count. But these days, many commercial property owners are taking a step beyond appearances and initiating landscape sustainability practices. Rest assured, these practices are more than a trend. Concerns about water quality and supply, use of chemical treatments and the planting of water-guzzling or invasive species aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. Consult with a Countryside Industries or another knowledgeable landscape professional, and learn how the following sustainable methods might work on your property.
1. Minimize water use.
Even in a relatively humid climate such as ours, we’re bound to have water shortages. What’s more, as concerns about the climate mount, none of us can predict when times of drought may be upon us. It’s best to initiate water-saving practices now and get used to them. Installing a drip irrigation system instead of sprinklers and sticking to a watering schedule — adjusting as needed depending on rainfall — is the way to go. Property owners should also pay attention to water that runs onto sidewalks or ponds in the street and reroute it to the landscape.
Extensive mulching will also diminish the need for water. Mulching the lawn, around trees and shrubs and in flower beds, will help hold in moisture as you water deeper and less often while your plants develop deeper roots.
2. Institute sustainable lawn care.
Nationwide, an astonishing 40 million acres of land is devoted to turfgrass. This generates public concerns about sustainability, so it’s logical that lawn managers everywhere have been challenged to develop lower-input turf and lawn systems. A qualified lawn care specialist can advise you on the best practices for mowing, watering, mulching and fertilizing so that your lawn needs fewer water and chemical inputs.
3. Practice integrated pest management.
It’s hard to control all those critters that want to take a bite out of your landscape, but wanton spraying of pesticides is seldom the best practice. A system of integrated pest management, or IPM, calls for taking action before a pest becomes a problem. For instance, if you know a particular tree or shrub is subject to a certain pest, replace that species with something less attractive to the pest.
IPM also calls for creating conditions that are unfavorable to the pest with cultural controls. For example, you might have to cut back on watering, as too much moisture can promote root disease or weeds. Mechanical controls such as mulching for weed management are another tool of IPM, as is using screens to keep birds of insects away. Chemicals should be used only as needed and applied minimally for the least harm to people, other organisms and the environment.
4. Go organic.
All your landscaping will need to be fertilized so that plants receive a proper supply of nutrients for optimum health and growth. Whenever possible, go organic. Organic fertilizer, usually made from animal or plant waste, slowly releases nutrients as the fertilizer breaks down, improving the soil structure and boosting its ability to hold on to nutrients and water. With slow-release fertilizers, you’re less likely to over-fertilize and hurt the plant. Plus, there’s no risk of toxic chemicals and salts building up in the soil.
Landscape sustainability can be rewarding on many fronts. As a business owner, you’ll show your appreciation for conserving water and that you’re in tune with other environmental concerns. Practicing sustainability can also result in a healthier, more eye-catching landscape with flowers, butterflies and birds, thereby generating a positive perception of your brand.
Our team at Countryside Industries is on hand to answer your questions about landscape sustainability.