Landscaping and garden maintenance activities can be major contributors to ocean pollution.
Soils, yard wastes, overwatering and garden chemicals become part of the urban runoff mix that winds its way through streets, gutters and storm drains before entering the ocean.
Poorly functioning sprinklers and overwatering, for example, waste water and increase the number of pollutants flowing into storm drains.
Fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are washed off lawns and landscaped areas. These chemicals not only kill garden invaders, they also harm useful insects, poison fish and contaminate ground and ocean water.
Leaves, grass clippings and tree trimmings that are swept or blown into the street and gutter are also ocean polluters. These wastes clog catch basins, increasing the risk of flooding on your street, and carry garden chemicals into the ocean. As they decompose, they also absorb oxygen fish need to survive.
General Landscaping Tips
- Protect stockpiles and materials from wind and rain by storing them under tarps or secured plastic sheeting.
- Schedule grading and excavation projects for dry weather.
- Prevent erosion by planting fast-growing annual and perennial grasses. These will shield and bind the soil.
Garden & Lawn Maintenance
- Do not overwater. Conserve water by using irrigation practices such as drip irrigation, soaker hoses or micro-spray systems.
- In communities with curbside yard waste recycling, place clippings and pruning waste in approved containers for pickup. Or, take clippings to a landfill that composts yard waste.
- Do not blow or rake leaves into the street, gutter or storm drains.
- Use organic or non-toxic fertilizers.
- Do not over-fertilize and do not fertilize near ditches, streams or other water bodies.
- Store pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals in a covered area to prevent runoff.
The "chemicals-only" approach to pest control is only a temporary fix. A more common-sense approach is needed for a long-term solution. It is called Integrated Pest Management.
Plan your IPMº strategy in this order:
1) Physical Controls
- Caulking holes or hand picking
- Barriers or Traps
2) Biological Controls
- Predatory insects (e.g. Green lacewings eat aphids)
- Bacterial insecticides (e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis kills caterpillars)
3) Chemical Controls – Your Last Resort
Use these least-toxic products:
- Dehydrating dusts (e.g. silica gel)
- Insecticidal soaps
- Boric acid powder
- Horticultural oils
- Pyrethrin-based insecticides