It’s street-cleaning season in my neck of the woods, which means I always regret running outdoors without my respirator when the street-cleaning trucks are making their “sweeps.” All that dust and dirt kicking up into the air is surely drawn into my heaving lungs as I punch through the brown cloud to cleaner air beyond.

I’m also thinking of what chemicals might be bouncing around that toxic cloud, particularly lawn chemicals. Sure, it’s been a long winter with freeze/thaw cycles and plenty of precipitation throughout, but I still wonder if herbicides and pesticides lingering from the fall are being thrown into the air by the street sweeper.

This brings us, of course, to the Earth Month tip of the day: green landscaping and green gardening.

We all want our lawns and gardens to ripple with emerald clarity and dazzling colors of flowers in bloom. The need to outdo the neighbors has been around for years and years and has helped the pesticide and fertilizer industry enjoy many healthy financial quarters.

But it’s also raised some important questions about local air pollution. I used to run around on my lawn minutes after my mom or dad laid fertilizer. Who knows what long-term effects that could have?

Fortunately, this day and age has us all much more educated on the potential dangers of the chemicals we put on our lawns. We’ve assembled some helpful resources on healthier lawn care and green gardening as we take to our outdoor spaces.

  • A Pesticide Primer. Learn the basics of pesticides and the types of pesticides available on the market.
  • Pesticides and Air Pollution. Find out how pesticides used on your lawn can impact the air quality indoors.
  • Organic Fertilizer. Use it! Enough said.
  • Reduce Heating and Cooling Bills with Energy Efficient Landscaping. Yes, the trees and shrubs you plant can actually lower your utility bills. Find out how!
  • Finally, check out this Backyard Garden Inspiration Gallery for some great ideas on upgrading your outdoor space this spring and summer.

    Remember to be a good homeowner and neighbor this spring by selecting earth-friendly fertilizers and pesticides for your lawn and garden. Your family and neighbors will appreciate it!

    RYW Garden and Lawn Resources