Climate change is very alarming and undeniable. Increased storms, more wildfires, and record-breaking temperatures have convinced even the harshest skeptics. If you’re a gardener, you have the opportunity to join the fight against climate change. To implement the necessary changes in your garden, you can search for “landscape companies near me” and hire professionals for the job. Let’s check out how you can rethink residential gardening for climate change.
1. Get rid of the lawn – Back in 2005, NASA-sponsored research found that the United States had around 49,000 square miles of lawns. That actually makes turf-grass the largest irrigated crop in the nation by area. That beats corn, cotton, and other commercially irrigated crops in the US. In fact, lawn grass uses more area than the next eight largest irrigated crops combined.
Lawn grass needs to carry cultural stigma instead of being the representation of prosperity and the suburban home. That’s because lawn grass requires a lot of water and fertilizer to stay green and beautiful. Suburban homes spend around 50 percent of their annual water consumption irrigating lawns. Turf grass requires to be watered up to 2 inches each week.
Let’s do some simple math. The average backyard is one-fifth of a yard or around 8700 square feet. One square foot of lawn requires around 0.62 gallons of water so that it can be irrigated up to 1 inch. That means every week you spend anywhere from 5000 to 10000 gallons of water irrigating your lawn. Lawn grass is such a giant water hog that researchers estimate that all the lawn grass in the US would consume more water than rice, pastureland, and the next 5 thirstiest crops in the US combined.
That’s not all. You also need to use a lot of fertilizer and energy to maintain your lawn with a lush green appearance. You need to spend hours on the mower to trim the grass to the right height, aerate the soil and pollute the environment while doing that if you use gas-guzzling power tools. That’s why the lawn grass needs to go. Instead, you can plant grass that’s native to the region.
You can also plant native shrubs and groundcovers that increase the diversity in your garden. They don’t require a lot of care and maintenance and contribute to the local ecosystem. If you live in the desert region of California or Arizona where water is scarce, lawn grass is an even more gross waste of resources. Instead, you can build a rock garden or use hardscaping to your greatest advantage.
2. Plant natives – You may have planted a few exotic flowers before. However, the experience has been mostly the same. They are difficult to grow, require a lot of resources, and are more prone to diseases. Just making your exotic flower bed survive in your local region is a challenging task that requires a lot of patience, time, and hard work.
Instead, you can plant more natives in your garden. Natives bring a lot of benefits. They have evolved with the geography and changing climatic conditions of the local region and are adapted to handle its unique challenges. If your area sees frequent droughts and soaring temperatures, native plants are evolved to tolerate those conditions and don’t require your babysitting to survive.
You’ll be doing yourself and the climate a great favor by planting more natives in your garden. This way you save a lot of resources, and your garden becomes a part of the local ecosystem. For instance, natives attract a lot more local bees, birds, and pollinators and help to make the local flora and fauna thrive again. Consult your local nursery or arborist about native pollinators and plant them in your garden.
3. Water deeper – Lawn grass has increased the requirement for sprinkler systems. They have also changed the behavior of many homeowners about watering their plants. Lawn grass is the beautiful scourge of American suburbia that has shallow roots. That means you need to water them around a large area up to 2 inches at most. Since that water sits close to the surface, it gets evaporated more quickly by the sun.
However, other plants and trees have deep roots that are established over a long time and reach deeper into the ground. This way they are more efficient at extracting resources from the ground and don’t have to rely on water that’s close to the surface level that gets evaporated swiftly. That’s why you need to water more deeply for a longer time instead of watering more frequently.
4. Switch to organic fertilizers and crop rotation – Commercially manufactured fertilizers are cheap and more easily available. However, they are made in a way that pollutes the environment and is full of chemicals that destroy the soil and beneficial worms, fungi, and microorganisms in it. You can prevent this by adopting more sustainable alternatives. You can grow your own compost by converting all the organic waste in the garden and home into valuable plant nutrition.
Apart from that, you can also adopt several beneficial gardening practices that decrease the use of pesticides and fertilizers. You can start with crop rotation. If crop rotation is done right and you are able to pair and sequence plants in the correct order, you can control the pest population in your garden while adding more nutrients to the soil.
This way the soil and the underground water don’t get poisoned by the harmful chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers. Apart from that, you can also slowly adapt and transition to no-till gardening. That way you can save several hours spent on tilling garden beds and maintain the delicate micro-ecosystem inside the soil.
Residential gardening is a big part of the suburban home and requires a lot of resources. You can change that and increase diversity without sacrificing blooming flowers. You can fight climate change and move towards a more sustainable gardening solution. To implement those changes, you can search for “landscape companies near me” and get professional help.