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Category: Earth News

  • For Peat’s Sake! Why Aren’t You Going Coconuts?

    March 16, 2010

    My co-hort Olaf Ribiero, noted plant pathologist, arborist, author and saver-of-ancient-trees, sent me a note about the UK proposal to phase out peat in consumer-based compost materials by the year 2020. I had known that peat extraction was destroying the ancient peat bogs, but what I hadn’t realized was the impact peat extraction has on climate change. Apparently, over a half a million tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere when peat is extracted. Then, the peat is shipped, piling on even more. Plus, the ancient bog habitats are disturbed. It is a nasty cycle.

    Really, there’s no reason to wait for legislation to stop using peat. Instead, consider alternatives to products containing this natural resource. Coir mulches, potting mixes and pot liners are a much more renewable alternatives derived from coconut, and they’re available in the consumer market now – cheap. Next time you’re picking up a product, consider the long term impact your purchase may have. Read the label and tread lightly.

  • Washington State Bill May End Up Taking the P out of Lawn Fertilizer NPK

    March 06, 2010
    Dandelions - a Lawn that Feeds and isn't Fed

    Dandelions - a Lawn that Feeds and isn't Fed

    Via email I received a report this morning from  Heather Hansen that Washington State Bill SB6289 died in the rules committee on Friday, March 5, 2010. This isn’t to say that future fertilization regulations won’t happen at some point, but don’t expect it any time soon. Read on for more in my original post on this proposed bill including a link to the bill history itself, which, by-the-way,  as of this morning is not reporting that the bill has died.

    Original Post from January 27, 2010:

    Yesterday I received an alert message from WSNLA lobbyist Heather Hansen regarding Washington State Bill SB6289‘s status and potential impact on the landscape industry. The headline of the bill is “Protecting Lake Waters by Reducing Phosphorous from Lawn Fertilizers”.  And, as wording in the Bill itself states “Phosphorus loading of surface waters can stimulate the growth of weeds and algae and that this growth can have adverse environmental, health, and aesthetic effects;” (note: this is copy taken from one iteration of edits in the bill review process; this wording may change over time.).

    Should this Bill become Law several specific changes may be forthcoming for lawn management companies according to Heather Hansen, WSNLA lobbyist including:

    • Dept. of Ecology gains authority over fertilizer rather than the Dept. of Agriculture. (sec. 2)
    • Different standards are set for solid and liquid fertilizer. (sec. 3)
    • Organic fertilizer is effectively banned (sec. 3)
    • Spills must be ?immediately contained? — but enforcement and definition of these spills isn’t quite clear (sec. 4)

    Having read through the copy of the bill Heather sent out, it seems that this bill will do nothing to limit fertilizer use by homeowners or limit fertilization for non-lawn use. I encourage you to read through the bill here and submit your feedback on it to the legislature. IMHO: while the idea of reducing lawn fertilizers is very necessary, this bill, as written,  needs some deeper refinement to make it effective and useful in protecting the environment and in protecting small business.

    If you’re a Washington State Resident and wish to contact your legislators about this bill, you may look up their contact information here.

    Read more about ecologically sound lawn care for the Pacific Northwest here.

    Read more about Pollution Prevention in Landscaping here.

  • Moss Lady Norie Burnet On Climate Change and Her Dusty Ice Skates

    October 16, 2009

    Blog Action Day 2009 was yesterday. The subject: Climate Change. Gardenhelp.org participated by posting a lengthy article on water here.

    Mossy "Lawn" and Ferns in Norie's Garden

    Mossy "Lawn" and Ferns in Norie's Garden

    Today I received a brief write up from guest writer Norie Burnet who has been gardening in the same fantastic spot for many years in Richmond, VA. She shares these observations of change in her own garden over those years:

    “The effects of climate change in my moss garden have been subtle but worth noting.  First of all, our wooded subdivision surrounds a 13 acre lake just south of Richmond, Va.  I remember well the wonderful ice skating forays there in the 60’s and 70’s, especially in early January.  With the milder temps today, this no longer happens. Ice skates are gathering dust.  Gardenwise, I’ve noticed changes as well.  The Japanese holly fern, a zone 8 plant, has been thriving in this zone 7 garden.  This is also true for a variegated pittisporum, also a zone 8 shrub.  Generally winter damage to plants is less severe.  Suddenly finding some fall blooms on a rhododendron also seems out of sync.  The moss lawns, a dominant part of my garden, Eden Woods, just go with the flow forming especially lush green carpets in the winter months.  In order to achieve this, the moss must be kept clear of fallen leaves and other woodland debris.”

    Read more about Norie’s beautiful garden in earlier posts here.

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