Environmentally-Friendly Yard Care Tips for Spring

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Karen Story

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Mar 16, 2021, 1:18:25 PMMar 16
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Spring is just around the corner, and that means yard work! These tips from the city of Kirkland and King County can help ensure that your yard is safe for people, pets, and wildlife ... and more friendly to your wallet.

Avoid Weed-and-Feed type products. They spread a pesticide on the whole yard, and it's tracked into the house by people and pets. Studies have found increased health risks in families that use lawn and garden pesticides, especially among children and pets. https://kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/solid-waste/programs/natural-yard-care/pesticide-use/pesticides-environment.aspx.

Avoid using blowers, and ask your yard service not to use them. The inefficient gas engines typically used on leaf blowers generate large amounts of air pollution and particulate matter. The noise can lead to serious hearing problems, including permanent hearing loss. Remember that the blower user may be wearing hearing protection, but nearby neighbors are not. Blower noise can also make it difficult for people to study or work from home.

Use a mulching mower, or ask your yard service to use one. They chop up and distribute leaves and grass clippings into the lawn, adding nutrients and increasing water retention to make the lawn healthier, saving you the cost of fertilizer and water, and reducing the cost of paid lawn mowing or yard waste collection.

Do not feed squirrels, raccoons or other wildlife. Avoid feeding birds. These animals can find food on their own. Feeding them leads to overpopulation and causes disease to be spread. Learn more here: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/zoonotic/facts-resources/diseases-by-animal/~/media/depts/health/communicable-diseases/documents/zoonotic/if-you-care-dont-feed-wildlife.ashx#

Learn more about how to create a bird-friendly yard here: https://www.nwf.org/certify

Learn more about safe Natural Yard Care here: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/solid-waste/programs/natural-yard-care.aspx

Learn about safe weed control and native plant installation in King Conservation District's new "Homeowner’s Guide to Backyard Forest Stewardship": https://kingcd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/KCD-Backyard-Forest-Stewardship-Homeowners-Guide.pdf

Learn about controlling Noxious Weeds from the King County Noxious Weed Program at https://kingcounty.gov/services/environment/animals-and-plants/noxious-weeds.aspx. Some of the most damaging plants in our area are ivy, holly, laurel, yellow archangel, and butterfly bush.

For utilizing native plants in your landscape checkout the Benefits and Beauty of Landscaping with Native Plants video from King Conservation District: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkv3BdUyu8.

For ideas on gardening with native plants to build better habitat visit the Washington Native Plant Society: https://www.wnps.org/native-gardening/wildlife. Their native plant sale opens in early April: https://www.wnps.org/cps-events/calendar/1028.

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