How are the plants in your garden looking? Last month I proposed six landscape principles that I wanted you to consider this summer that help create healthier living spaces and communities. The following are three more principles that I would like to add to that list:
- Manage yard pests. Stress renders plants more susceptible to pests in the landscape. Take time to observe the bugs in your garden. Do you know the key plants and key pests in your landscape? Do you know the "good" bugs from the "bad" bugs? If you decide to spray a pesticide, look for the least-toxic alternatives first. Overuse of pesticides can harm beneficial insects and the environment.
- Provide for wildlife. Be able to identify critters in your yard and ones you want to attract. All wildlife needs four things: food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young. If you can't provide all four, please consider water. Water is vital for drinking, bathing and reproducing. Planting vines, shrubs and trees can at the least provide cover and nesting areas for wildlife.
- Protect the water's edge. Water is a precious resource and we want to protect it. Establishing a 25-50 foot "no fertilizer, no pesticide" zone along waterfronts will help us carefully manage what goes into our waterways. Planting a mix of trees, shrubs and grasses between your lawn and the water's edge will help reduce erosion and runoff into waterbodies.
Again, I hope you will consider utilizing all nine of the landscape principles in your garden. In the meantime, let your grass grow a bit taller, compost your yard waste and learn all you can about the plants in your landscape. If you have any questions, both the Memphis Area Master Gardeners and myself are happy to help you achieve your landscape goals!
Until next time, stay cool out there!