After almost 35 years in the landscape industry our company is being faced with the “Green” question. On the surface it would seem that landscaping and gardening would, by nature and definition, qualify as being green. But appearances are deceiving.
The energy needed from fossil fuels and pollution generated by landscaping operations is considerable. Our trucks and equipment run on oil products and lawn and garden equipment is not particularly clean when compared to the new generation of automobiles.
What’s the answer and how are we dealing with this problem?
One of our main efforts is in reducing the organic waste stream that comes from our projects. This includes using mulching lawn mowers and then separating the green debris that comes from projects and sending that debris to a compost facility instead of going directly into a landfill. Over 90% of the collected leaf litter from our landscape maintenance projects gets composted directly at our office/yard location. That composted material is then used as mulch or soil amendment for some of our installation projects.
Planning for and implementing irrigation water savings is another big effort of our company. For almost 5 years we have been carefully monitoring and recording water meter readings. Irrigation controllers are being programmed based on the Evapotranspiration (ET) rates for our region. We send our meter readings for many projects into an independent monitoring agency that produces a report for us on how close our projects are to a pre-set water budget that is based on ET. This might sound complicated but the end result allows us to adjust controller settings to provide the correct amount of water to plant material and turf to keep landscapes looking their best. Regular water meter readings also enable us to react quickly to high readings often caused by mal-functioning or broken irrigation components.
There are many other ways that we are attempting to reduce the negative environmental effects that occur as a byproduct of our operations. We’ll be highlighting some of those in future newsletters.
We’re open to your ideas on how to do this. Feel free to contact us with your ideas.