Tagged with "Sustainability"
The word lawn comes from the Old English for an “open space." Both European and American aristocracy had estates with lawns, but working class people used their land to grow food.
A big change came for the American “lawnscape” in the 1950s in response to the trauma of WWII. In new, orderly housing developments such as Levittown, the first neighborhood lawn standards were adopted. Military uniformity prevailed with ready access to cheap, war-surplus chemicals that had been rebranded as lawn fertilizers and pesticides. Now a $60 billion per year industry, lawn grass is the cheapest landscape to plant and the most expensive to maintain.
In order to thrive, American lawns consume 20 trillion gallons of water, 90 million pounds of fertilizer, 78 million pounds of pesticides and 600 million gallons of fossil fuels per year. We now know so much more about how dangerous and unnecessary these chemicals are, and how many resources are drained maintaining on our yards.
The next generation of lawns will be less toxic and more environmentally friendly: smaller (think area rug instead of wall-to-wall), more biodiverse and chemical free.
How you can help save these species, and your own.
Here's the real buzz, we need native bees in order to survive as a species.
There are 4,000 native bee species in the United States and they are responsible for 80% of the pollination of flowering plants and for 75% of fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in this country. Here's more buzz, most are stingless and no one has ever had an allergic reaction to a native bee sting.
What can YOU do to help save native bees?
- Do not use chemicals in your yard and garden.
- Plant native flowers that bloom early in the spring like bloodroot, wild geranium, shadbush and spicebush when bees are foraging for nectar. Dandelions are another favorite of native, pollinating bees.
- Leave your biomass: turn a fallen tree into a log wall. Leave hollow reeds in an unused corner of the yard. These make great nesting spots for native bees.
- Do not buy plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids.
- Ask your local garden supply stores to stop stocking products that contain them.
The Living Dead
If dead standing timber it isn't going to fall on your house or car, leave it. In a state of decay, the tree is still a great home for the living, providing shelter to a multitude of wildlife from microbes and fungus to birds of prey. As it slowly disintegrates, it will feed the soil beneath.
Eventually the old tree will just fall over, continue to rot and provide habitat for ground-dwelling creatures. Remember, encouraging biodiversity is part of what makes a PRFCT place: each inhabitant has a role in a nature-based system. Removing biomass from your property is removing the food that your landscape has provided for itself. (And it's better than anything you can buy in the store!)
Tick hysteria has begun and we hear you loud and clear, but there are some things to consider before spraying your lawn and landscape.
Ticks are HARD to kill. It's far more likely that your spraying will decimate populations of beneficial insects while the ticks continue to thrive.
Synthetic tick sprays are toxic and create a false sense of security. They kill pollinators (butterflies!), they do not kill all the ticks, and new ticks wander right back in soon after the spray is applied.
Spraying your property will also give you a false sense of security and could lead to less diligence when it comes to the things that really do prevent tick-borne disease: applying repellent, checking yourself, removing clothing promptly and showering shortly after spending time outdoors.
The best way to protect from ticks is to spray yourself. Ticks hate cedar, so try to find a product that uses cedar oil.
Ticks also like moisture so if you wait to irrigate and water seldom, the better off you will be. Established shrubs and trees (places ticks love to hang out) do not need watering, and your lawn really only needs one good long drink per week in the event of no rainfall.
Photo by Jared Belson
A Company on a PRFCT Mission:
The Clean Air Lawn Care franchise was created out of a desire to change the negative impacts of lawn care on the environment. They use solar powered equipment, adhere to many PRFCT principles and have become allies in
promoting toxic-free lawns for the health of people, pets and the planet.
Interview with Clean Air Lawn Care CEO Kelly Giard
Q: You weren’t always in the landscape industry, what drew you in that direction?
A: Our original mission was to become a disruptive business model that lead the way in driving down the 10-12% of the nation’s air pollution from lawn care to close to 0%. That challenge is what drew me and still does. We have since broadened out to adopting the same mission with regard to eliminating chemicals from lawn care with organic practices.
Q: At PRFCT, we feel that organic is the future of the landscape industry. How did you come to identify that gap in the landscaping world?
A: After doing 3-4 years of solar powered mowing we saw that there wasn’t a national leader in authentic organic lawn care. It was a leadership gap we felt we could establish and build our brand around. Customers are starving for an effective organic service once they understand it’s an option.
Q: How do you accredit and educate the landscapers that join the franchise?
A: Most of our new owners don’t have a landscaping background. They are typically green entrepreneurs with a white-collar background. We primarily vet their authentic commitment to our principles and practices. From there we do an extensive week long training at our HQ followed by a 1-2 day on site training. Longer term, we constantly organize and encourage the collective knowledge of our owner group to develop best practices for delivering the best organic lawn care we can for our customers nationally. We believe that a combination of science and field learning lead to the best results. This year we are starting a program where after 2 years of doing organic lawn care, our owners can fly back to our HQ and work with our team and scientist from their locale to develop a fertilizer we will manufacturer that is optimal for their community’s soils and climate.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in getting homeowners to embrace and adopt organic lawn and landscape services?A: Awareness. Once the customer understands it’s an option, they want it.
Q: Any other inspiration you’d like to share for founding Clean Air Lawn Care?
A: Our owner group inspires me every day. We have exceptional people that own our locations. They are the ones that make the magic happen.
Q: Where do you see the company in terms of growth, demand and supply in 5 years?
A: We added 17 new territories in 2017 and we are targeting 25 for 2018. Our business is accelerating and I expect that to continue over the next 5 years. The customer is waking up.