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Archive | Bloomin’ Summer

Protect gardens from invasive pests

By following USDA’s six easy tips, you can help protect your plants, trees and crops from invasive pests.

By following USDA’s six easy tips, you can help protect your plants, trees and crops from invasive pests.

(NAPS)—Nothing tastes better than fresh-picked fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, invasive pests threaten to devour the crops in our gardens and farms, and the flowers, trees and plants in our landscapes. They are a real threat, costing our nation approximately $120 billion each year.

These pests can spread quickly as they come from other countries and have few or no natural enemies here. In particular, the USDA cautions gardeners to be wary of 19 destructive, invasive species known as Hungry Pests, which include the emerald ash borer and Asian citrus psyllid. People need to be aware of these pests, because they are primarily spread in the things people move and pack.

Tips to Save Gardens

Fortunately, homeowners can follow six easy tips to protect their gardens and landscapes, and help keep Hungry Pests from spreading:

  • Only buy plants and seeds from reputable sources, such as established nurseries or online businesses. Ask where they buy their plants and if they comply with federal quarantine restrictions. Temporary, roadside vendors—and even non-established dealers online—may not be doing what is required to keep plants free of pests.
  • If you are in a quarantined area—check www.HungryPests. com/the-spread—don’t move plants or homegrown produce. And to be safe, don’t bring back plants from other areas, including abroad. That’s how the Mexican fruit fly—which threatens 50 types of fruits and vegetables—entered the United States.
  • When doing property clean-up, call your local USDA office to find out how to safely dispose of trees, branches and other yard debris. Moving such materials outside your property in quarantined areas could spread invasive pests. Make sure your contractors also follow the procedures.
  • Don’t move homegrown citrus or citrus plants outside your property. That’s how citrus greening, a disease that is killing America’s orange groves, has spread.
  • Look for round and D-shaped holes in trees. They could be the exit holes of Asian longhorned beetles or emerald ash borers. Also look for yellow, thin or wilted leaves, shoots growing from roots or tree trunks, sawdust-like material and unusual woodpecker activity. If something looks suspicious, be safe and report it using the “Report a Pest” button on the Hungry Pests’ website.
  • For those in the northeast quadrant of the country, inspect lawn furniture, fences and other outdoor items, and remove and immerse gypsy moth egg masses in soapy water. Gypsy moths eat more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, so early detection is key. Report findings to agricultural officials.

Go to HungryPests.com to learn more, or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

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“Light” up the grill: three creative tips for a leaner barbeque 

BLOOM-HealthyBBQC

(NewsUSA) – It’s time to dust off the grills, pile up the charcoal and break out the oversized spatula because grilling season is here! With school out for the summer, it’s time for families to gear up for barbecue parties filled with tasty grilled grub. If you’re looking to whip up barbecue favorites at your next family cookout but still want to keep the menu lean, follow these go-to tips for lightened up versions of classic dishes that don’t sacrifice an ounce of flavor.

*Ditch the Traditional Bun: If you’re looking to cut calories and pack in an extra serving of veggies for the kids, consider swapping your traditional hamburger and hot dog buns for creative and delicious veggie alternatives. Refrigerator staples from zucchini and romaine lettuce to sweet potato can quickly transform into slider and sausage buns. For added flavor and a meatier texture, cook your veggies on the grill with a brush of olive oil, salt and pepper.

*Grill Lean(er) Meat: Believe it or not, there is a way to eat clean and lean without sacrificing the taste you love from richer cuts of meat. Chicken breasts, skinless chicken thighs, pork loin and even flank steak are all excellent options for leaner cuts. Fewer calories aren’t the only bonus—the lack of excess fat will cause fewer flare-ups on the grill. If you’re a fan of hot dogs or bratwurst, consider looking for a leaner seasoned sausage to swap so flavor isn’t sacrificed. Simply Savory Smoked Sausages from Land O’Frost are available in a variety of bold flavors, including bacon and cheddar, chipotle and roasted red pepper, and Italian style with pepper and mozzarella. These sausages have 35 percent less fat and no artificial flavors, MSG and fillers often found in hot dogs and sausage products.

*Tangy Twist: Instead of dousing chicken and pork in store-bought barbeque sauces that are high in sugar, consider squeezing the juice of fresh lemon or limes over meat. If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, swap out the tangy taste for a sweeter fruit. Adding pineapple or orange juice can offer the sweet flavors you’re craving without the added sugar. With these simple tricks in mind, fire up the grill and get ready to create a healthier barbecue for your family and friends. For coupons and more information about Land O’Frost’s Simply Savory Sausages, visit www.landofrost.com.

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Cherries

 

BLOOM-CherriesFrom the Michigan Ag Council

They’re red, they’re tasty, and they’re one of Michigan’s most prized specialty crops!

Fresh sweet Michigan cherries are in season from late June to August while Montmorency tart cherries are available throughout the year in dried,  frozen, canned, or as juices and concentrates.

Michigan cherry facts:

  • Michigan produces both tart (perfect for baked goods, entrees, snacks, smoothies, salads, and other recipes) and sweet (for fresh eating) cherries
  • Michigan ranks 1st in the nation in the production of Montmorency tart cherries
  • Michigan ranks 4th in the nation in the production of sweet cherries
  • 70-75% of Montmorency tart cherries and 20% of sweet cherries grown in the U.S. come from Michigan
  • The northwest counties of Michigan grow most of Michigan’s cherries
  • Traverse City, Michigan is home to the annual National Cherry Festival and is the Cherry Capital of the World

Nutrition:

  • Montmorency tart cherries are abundant in anthocyanins – a natural compound that contributes to the ruby-red color, distinctive sour-sweet taste, and has been linked to the potential health benefits of Montmorency tart cherries.
  • A growing number of elite athletes and everyday exercisers are incorporating Montmorency tart cherries in their training routines, as studies have shown that Montmorency tart cherry juice may help reduce strength loss and aid recovery after extensive exercise.
  • Research indicates that Montmorency tart cherry juice may help improve the quality and duration of sleep.
  • Cherries contain beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and fiber

To learn more about cherries, visit The Cherry Marketing Institute at www.choosecherries.com.

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Pork Chops with cherry sauce

BLOOM-Recipe-Pork-Chops-with-Cherry-Sauce

From The Cherry Marketing Institute, choosecherries.com.

Total Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
  • 2 boneless pork loin chops, about 1-inch thick
  • Salt and black pepper, freshly ground, to taste (used 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Dried red pepper flakes, to taste (used 1/8 teaspoon pepper)

Directions

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add pork chops; brown well, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to plate.

Add onions to skillet; cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, dried Montmorency tart cherries, orange marmalade, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; boil rapidly on medium heat until broth is reduced by half. Reduce heat.

Add pork chops to pan to heat through, 5 to 6 minutes. (Cook pork chops longer on lower heat if pork chops are very thick or have a bone in them.) Internal temperature of the pork should be about 160 degrees F.

Add chicken broth or water, if needed.

Serve pork chops with cherry sauce spooned over them.

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Living landscapes bring surprising health benefits

Studies show that green spaces and landscaping contribute to health, happiness and intellect.

Studies show that green spaces and landscaping contribute to health, happiness and intellect.

(NAPS)—There’s a good—and surprising—reason you may pine for greenery. Living landscapes are an important part of the outdoor lifestyle that Americans enjoy but the benefits go beyond the barbecue and backyard baseball. Green spaces are necessary for your health.

“The advantages of grass and landscaping surpass the usual physical benefits that result from outdoor activity,” explained Kris Kiser, president and CEO, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Numerous studies have found that people who spend more time outside or who are exposed to living landscapes are happier, healthier and smarter.”

Researchers have studied the effect of nature on human well-being for years, but recent studies found a more direct correlation between human health, particularly related to stress, and the importance of access to nature and managed landscapes.

Here’s a look at a few:

  • Getting dirty is actually good for you, according to Dr. Christopher Lowery, a neuroscientist at the University of Bristol in England. Mycobacterium vaccae in soil stimulates serotonin production, which explains why people who spend time gardening and have direct contact with soil feel more relaxed and happier.
  • Living near living landscapes can improve your mental health. Researchers in England found that people moving to greener areas experienced an immediate improvement in mental health that was sustained for at least three years after they moved. The study also showed that people relocating to a more developed area suffered a drop in mental health.
  • Green spaces can make you healthier, too. People who live within a half mile of green space (such as parks, public gardens and greenways) were found to have a lower incidence of 15 diseases by Dutch researchers—including depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and migraines. A 2015 study found that people living on streets with more trees had a boost in heart and metabolic health.
  • Living landscapes can even reduce attention-deficit/hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Children gain attention and working memory benefits when they are exposed to greenery, says a study led by the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona. In addition, exposure to natural settings may be widely effective in reducing ADHD symptoms in children.
  • Spending time around plants also improves concentration and memory in adults. Research shows that being around plants helps you concentrate better at home and at work. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, believes that spending time in gardens can improve attention span and memory performance by as much as 20 percent.
  • Gardening is great for the body and the soul. People who gardened for at least 30 minutes a week had lower body mass indexes, a measure of body fat, as well as higher levels of self-esteem and better moods overall. They also reported lower levels of tension and stress.
  • Nature walks (or runs) are great for your brain and stress levels. A National Institutes of Health study found that adults demonstrate significant cognitive gains after going on a nature walk. A Stanford University study found that walking in nature, rather than in a concrete-oriented, urban environment, resulted in decreased anxiety, rumination, and negative affect, and produced cognitive benefits, such as increased working memory performance.
  • Living landscapes help you heal faster. Multiple studies have discovered that plants in hospital recovery rooms or views of aesthetically pleasing gardens help patients heal up to one day faster than those who are in more austere environments.
  • You might even be a nicer person when you spend time in nature, as it enhances social interactions, value for community and close relationships. A systematic research review concluded that “the balance of evidence indicates conclusively that knowing and experiencing nature makes us generally happier, healthier people.”

All these benefits reinforce the importance of maintaining yards, parks and other community green spaces. Trees, shrubs, grass and flowering plants are integral to human health. Not only do they provide a place for kids and pets to play, they directly contribute to mental and physical well-being.

Learn More

For tips on maintaining a living landscape, even in drought conditions, go to www.opei.org/stewardship.

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Creative ways to use fresh, summer ingredients

Summer’s flavors can be fleeting, so make culinary creations count by using the freshest ingredients in new ways.

Summer’s flavors can be fleeting, so make culinary creations count by using the freshest ingredients in new ways.

(StatePoint) In summer, the abundance of fresh ingredients can be overwhelming, especially if you stick to the same old recipes. Make more of the fresh produce available to you at the grocer, farmers market and even your own garden, by thinking creatively.

To help, the summer food experts at Betty Crocker are offering some great ideas for using fresh, seasonal produce.

1. Save the best berries for later.

Berry season is far too short. Make it last longer by freezing berries for the cooler months. Choose fruit at peak freshness, and then store it in high-quality freezer bags that seal tightly, removing as much excess air — fruit’s worst enemy — as possible before freezing. Label bags with the freeze date and remember: a full freezer is more efficient, so stock up!

2. Take advantage of fresh tomatoes.

If you have more fresh tomatoes than you know what to do with, consider these creative uses:

  • Caprese Salad. Layer sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
  • Bruschetta. Served on small slices of toasted bread, bruschetta is a perfect appetizer for any dinner party.
  • No-Cook Pasta Sauce. Marinara sauce can be too heavy for summer, but a raw sauce showcasing fresh tomatoes is perfect. Try Rigatoni and Tomatoes for a great introduction.

3. Add a touch of sweetness to zucchini.

Managing the bounty of garden-fresh zucchini is always a challenge, so think beyond the main course. You can make the most out of the humble summer squash with baked treats like pineapple zucchini bread, zucchini bars and chocolate zucchini snack cake.

4. Bake with fresh berries.

Baking with fresh berries is one of the highlights of summertime. Favorite desserts that call for freshly picked strawberries, raspberries and blueberries include classics like fresh strawberry pie, but also inventive creations like brownies and berries dessert pizza and blueberry cheesecake bars.

5. Make pickles easy.

Preserving the summer bounty of cucumbers doesn’t mean you need to spend days canning. For a tasty shortcut, layer cucumber slices, onions and carrots in a glass container. Mix with sugar, vinegar, salt and dill weed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, but no longer than two weeks.

6. Make berries last with freezer jam.

Freezer jam is a smart way to hold on to summer’s fresh berries without the hassle of traditional jam. Try this recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam:

Mash 4 cups strawberries, until slightly chunky, to make 2 cups. Mix with 4 cups sugar in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix 3/4 cup water and one package powdered fruit pectin in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Pour hot pectin mixture over strawberry mixture; stir constantly three minutes. Immediately spoon mixture into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims of containers; seal. Let stand at room temperature about 24 hours or until set. Store in freezer up to six months. Thaw and stir before serving.

More seasonal recipes and summer cooking tips can be found at BettyCrocker.com/summerfoods.

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Design an outdoor room for all to enjoy 

 

Creating an outdoor garden room can be accomplished even with limited space and budget. Photo credit: Gardener’s Supply Company

Creating an outdoor garden room can be accomplished even with limited space and budget. Photo credit: Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

No matter your budget, space or gardening experience, you can design an outdoor entertainment area for you, your family and friends to enjoy.

Start by gathering ideas from magazines, the internet and websites like Gardener’s Supply Company for examples of outdoor garden spaces.

Next, select an area that is convenient and suitable for your outdoor entertaining. Define the space using outdoor rugs and furniture or tall planters (gardeners.com) to serve as the walls for your garden room. A bistro set and a couple of chairs makes for an intimate space on a balcony. Those with more room may want to include an outdoor wicker and teak dining set. Fill the planters with ornamental grasses, papyrus, cannas and other flowering plants to create a living screen.

Add a splash of color and flavor to the space by growing herbs and vegetables combined with flowers in these and additional planters in your garden space. Include ingredients for your favorite drinks, appetizers and meals. Your guests will enjoy plucking a few mint leaves for their iced tea or mojito, harvesting fresh greens from a Salad Garden Bar and dressing up the meal with a few pesticide-free edible flowers like nasturtiums, calendula and daylilies.

Busy gardeners and those that travel may want to try self-watering pots. These containers have built-in water reservoirs to provide a constant flow of water to the plants. This means you need to water less often, while still enjoying healthy and productive plants.

Add some height and focal points with topiaries.  Purchase a sculpted evergreen or train vines up a twist topiary frame to create a bit of living art. And don’t forget to add some garden art and statuary.

Extend your enjoyment with outdoor lighting. A few votive candles in old punch cups are perfect for intimate gatherings in small spaces. Add a bit more illumination with the help of solar illuminated planters, solar deck lights, post caps, and solar cubes and spheres. No buried electric lines or extension cords needed. Use these lights to lead you down the path to your garden space or brighten the space for an evening of fun.

So get busy creating the garden room of your dreams. Once you get started, you will be looking for more opportunities for that quiet getaway, outdoor kitchen and more ways to enjoy your garden.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set, and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com.

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Manage Mosquitoes While Enjoying the Great Outdoors

 Eliminating standing water, improving drainage in the landscape, weeding and proper mowing are just a few of the ways to help manage the mosquito population.

Eliminating standing water, improving drainage in the landscape, weeding and proper mowing are just a few of the ways to help manage the mosquito population.

By Melinda Myers

Don’t let disease-carrying mosquitoes keep you indoors this summer. Instead, employ these eight tips to protect yourself and manage these pests in your yard.

Do a bit of yard and garden clean up.  Remove weeds, manage neglected gardens and keep the lawn properly mowed to reduce resting spaces for adult mosquitoes.

Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed. Drain water that collects in buckets, kids toys, tarps, pool covers, clogged gutters and downspouts. Clear the gutters and downspouts so water can drain freely.  Store items that tend to collect water in a shed or garage.

Evaluate drainage patterns in your landscape. Improve drainage by amending the soil with organic matter. Install French drains, drain tiles and other drainage systems if needed. Or turn it into a water feature. Consult your municipality first for any relevant guidelines and restrictions.

Manage water in birdbaths, fountains, ponds and rain barrels. Change water weekly in birdbaths and wading pools. Add a pump to keep water moving and prevent breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control like Mosquito Dunks and Bits (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.

Add a fan to your outdoor décor. The gentle breeze keeps these weak flying insects away. Consider taking one to the garden when weeding.

Provide short-term relief when entertaining outdoors with the help of citronella oil or scented candles. Scatter lots of these throughout the area and within a few feet of your guests.

Cover as much of your skin as possible with loose fitting, light colored clothing. Mosquitoes are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach your skin through loose clothing.

Further protect yourself from disease-carrying mosquitoes by using a personal repellent. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin, IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellents as you need to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent.

Implement some of these strategies and then get ready to enjoy the outdoors mosquito-free all season long.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set, and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com.

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Five top trends in container gardening

BLOOM-Five-top-trends(BPT) Gardening is a peaceful activity that eases tension, reduces overall stress and promotes longevity. One long-term study found that daily gardening reduces the risk for both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. With all of these benefits, there are ample reasons why people of all ages and lifestyles should start digging in the dirt.

You don’t need a big yard or lots of room to enjoy a beautiful garden. With so many options for indoor and outdoor container gardening, there’s no limit on the number of gardens you can have. Container gardening is a great way to color up a small space, add depth and height to your yard or easily change up the look of your patio. No matter your skill level, enjoy the benefits of gardening with these container trends:

Foliage gardens

Foliage plants are no longer just accessories for your small space garden. You can create an entire display simply out of rich, colorful foliage plants. Fountain grass, papyrus, vinca and grassy rush are all great additions for adding vibrancy to your container garden. Mix and match with various textures to find a unique display that speaks to you.

Petunia tower

A petunia tower is a great way to add an unexpected element to your container garden collection. A flower tower is easy to make and sun-loving Tidal Wave Petunias will bloom all season long on a patio, deck or pool area. You will need only three Tidal Wave plants. The Red Velour have great color and texture and make a strong statement. Plant them with good potting soil into a 10 to 12 inch wide plastic nursing pot. Place a three-foot metal tomato cage into the pot. The cage should be as wide at the bottom as it is on the top. Now slip the entire plastic pot into a glazed pot that’s about one to four inches wider, and voila!

Hanging baskets

Hanging flower baskets bring your plants to eye-level, where everyone can enjoy their wonderful scents and sights. Add beauty to an otherwise dull porch, wall or rafters. Try planting succulents for a virtually care-free container garden. Petunias, calibrachoa and pansies also make wonderful additions to hanging baskets.

Combination containers

Who says your container garden can only have one plant? Get creative and play with different color and texture combinations of plants and flowers. You can make up your own mix or search online for combo recipes by other inspiring gardeners. Mix foliage with flowers and use a color scheme to build a balanced and beautiful container.

Indoor container gardening

Take your favorite hobby inside. Even if you have a small apartment, there’s no need to rule out house plants. Find the best place for each plant, depending on their light requirements. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different locations until you find the best spot for your indoor containers. For sun-loving plants, just be sure to place them on a windowsill for maximum light exposure.

With so many options and room for creativity, container gardening is a trend that’s here to stay. Tap into your inventive side to build a container garden that brings joy and wellness both indoors and out. For more gardening ideas, tips and tricks visit wavepetunias.com.

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Living landscapes matter

Lawns and gardens are ecosystems that help us all

Lawns provide a safe place for families to gather and for children and pets to play. Grass is also brilliant at combating many environmental challenges.

Lawns provide a safe place for families to gather and for children and pets to play. Grass is also brilliant at combating many environmental challenges.

(NAPS)—While in some parts of our country, people are replacing their lawns with rocks, mulch, cacti and plastic grass—deadening the landscape in order to conserve water—you may not have to.

“Having a lawn and being a good environment steward are not mutually exclusive,” explains Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Grass is a vital part of our living landscapes that contribute to our communities, our families and our health.”

Lawns provide a safe place for families to gather and for children and pets to play. But grass is also brilliant at combating many environmental challenges. For example, a good lawn:

•Filters and Captures Runoff. When it rains, water “sheets off” hard surfaces, such as hardscapes, parking lots, driveways and roads, turning rainwater into fast-moving, storm water runoff. Grass, however, slows down and absorbs runoff, while also cleansing water of impurities and dust. The grass filtration system is so effective that rainwater filtered through a healthy lawn is often as much as 10 times less acidic than water running off a hard surface.

•Reduces Heat. Lawns can be outdoor air conditioners. Turfgrass dissipates the heat island effect caused from asphalt, concrete and other hardscapes. Remarkably, studies have shown that lawns can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil. That means lower energy bills for you and a nicer environment for everyone.

  • Improves Air Quality. Grass also plays a vital role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants. Without grass, these pollutants will remain in the air, resulting in more “code red” air quality days.
  • Absorbs Carbon Dioxide. The lawn is the largest carbon sink in the United States. Carbon sinks are natural systems that suck up and store greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The dense canopy and fibrous root system in a lawn sequesters carbon so well that it outweighs the carbon used for maintaining the lawn by as much as sevenfold.
  • Generates Oxygen. Lawns are incredible oxygen producers. A turf area 50 feet x 50 feet produces enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of a family of four.
  • Supports Biodiversity. Grass, trees, shrubs and other plants provide food and habitat for birds and small mammals. Insects, spiders and worms live among the grass blades and below the surface in the turf, so your lawn can support biodiversity and wildlife.
  • Controls Soil Erosion. Turfgrass controls erosion through its natural, dense and fibrous root system. Without grass, soil erodes into streams and lakes, muddying the waters and limiting how sunlight penetrates the water. The nutrients and chemicals carried with soil can cause algae blooms, which steal oxygen from the water and kill fish.

Lawn or no lawn is not the question

So how to maintain a living landscape—even under tough conditions like a drought?

First, choose the right turfgrass for the climate zone and lifestyle. Hundreds of varieties of turfgrass exist, and some of them—such as buffalo and Bermuda grass—are excellent for drought conditions. When established, these grasses require very little water and are hardy enough to survive foot traffic, children’s play and pets.

Secondly, know that too much water is actually bad for grass. Overwatering causes the grass roots to grow horizontally, rather than vertically. With less water, the grass has to work harder and will grow its roots deeper into the soil in search of moisture. This helps it do a better job of trapping carbon and releasing oxygen.

People also need to change the perception that lawns must remain green. It’s okay to let your grass go brown. Grass will grow in cycles, “turning on and off,” based on the resources it gets. As water becomes less available in an area, grass will slow down, go dormant and turn brown. Turfgrass is resilient. It will green up again when the rains return.

Lastly, incorporate native plants with adaptive plants and grasses suitable for the climate. Add pollinator plants that provide food and habitat for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other animals and insects.

For more information, go to www.opei.org/stewardship.

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