Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly, or just use compost.
Go Green with Less
It’s okay to want green lawns and gorgeous flowers. But too much fertilizer or too many bug killers are not necessary. It doesn’t take much of the right product to achieve the desired result. In fact, there are many non-chemical choices for preventing weeds and bugs. One choice is to try compost instead of a fertilizer or herbicide.
Scientists have found 23 pesticides in Puget Sound streams, many at levels that can harm salmon and other wildlife. When stormwater flows over our yards and gardens it picks up pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and carries them into streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound. These chemicals poison wildlife and absorb oxygen in water, contributing to dead zones.
FACT: 96% of the insects in a yard are good bugs.
If you already follow the directions on your fertilizer or pesticide, try something new and easy:
Go Natural: Use compost to augment your soil and fertilize your plants. There are many types of compost available and some cities or counties offer their own products. If you must, use slow release organic fertilizer in late September and/or early May.
Plant a Tree: Increase the number of trees to help intercept rainwater.
Let the Rain Soak In: Slow stormwater runoff by directing downspouts into lawns, beds or rain gardens.
Build Healthy Soil: Supplement your soil with mulch, compost and other all-natural soil amendments. Healthy soils lead to robust plants that are more resistant to disease and insect problems, which means you’ll reduce the need for herbicides and pesticides.
Clean Up Troublemakers: Remove diseased plants and compost the dead ones.
Minimize Spray: Try traps, barriers, fabric row covers and repellants before turning to pesticides.
Plant Right for Your Site: Select pest-resistant plants and put them in soil mixture and sun conditions they like. Consult a garden expert for advice on the right plant for your conditions.
Water Smart: Water deeply and infrequently. Most plants do best if the soil partially dries out between watering. One inch a week is the rule of thumb.
Test Automatics: Test, repair and adjust your sprinklers annually, and install a rain shut-off device.