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Sustainable Landscaping: Planning for Spring

Written by Katie Harris, Intern for KTB 

With spring just around the corner, many people are planning their upcoming landscape or garden layout. While planning your landscape, it is important to consider the impact on the surrounding wildlife and environment. Creating a beautiful landscape for your house or farm that beautifies your space and is safe for the environment can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you create landscaping that's long-lasting and affordable without disrupting the surrounding environment.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer is something that every landscape needs, but some can be harmful to the surrounding wildlife. Toxic fertilizers, though fast-acting, can be washed away via rainwater runoff and pollute nearby waterways. This is a very serious issue and should be thoroughly researched before purchasing. There are environmentally friendly alternatives to store-bought synthetic fertilizers, such as composting. Other alternatives include knowing what your plants are lacking and giving those plants organic material that solves the issue.

Native Plants

When choosing plants, opt for ones that are native to your area. This not only ensures that your plants will grow, but it allows other native life to flourish around the landscape. Native animal species will return to the yard and allow other native plants to take root. Plants that are native to an area are used to being around each other and can flourish together as a result. There would be major competition for space by putting two invasive or non-native plants next to each other that could cause one or both plants to die. Non-native or invasive plants cause a negative effect on the landscape in that they are not integrated in the area's ecosystem. Nothing eats or regulates their growth, causing them to widely spread and take over spaces that native plants would naturally take up. Opting for a native species would ensure that the landscape remains for many years to come and create positive ecological change.

Soil

Finding out what kind of soil you have will help in choosing the right plants and best drainage techniques. The best soil for planting an array of vegetation is loam soil. This soil is a mixture of clay, silt, and sand. It has gritty texture, meaning that it is optimal for drainage, but also retains water and plant nutrients. If loam is not available in your area, do no worry. Plants native to your area will still flourish on your landscape.

Drainage

Drainage is the movement of water away from one's landscape. Making sure that your landscape has good drainage is a must when it comes to creating a landscape that is sustainable and will last for years to come. Proper drainage can be achieved either naturally or artificially. The next time it rains, look into your space and notice where water likes to pool and sit. This is due to improper drainage and can cause long-lasting impacts that will make it difficult for your plants to grow.


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Litter on the Bayou
Mentor-of-the-Month: Timothy Hamilton