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It’s Okay to Play in the Dirt

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It’s Okay to Play in the Dirt with These Gardening Tips from askHRgreen.org

(Hampton Roads, March 24, 2013) – Spring arrives this week, and you know what that means, right? It’s time to go outside and play in the dirt! Before pulling out the gardening trowels and firing up the weed trimmers, make sure you are adhering to practices that will have long-term benefits for your landscape, while protecting the environment. Experts from askHRgreen.org have cultivated seven good-to-do tips that, if followed, will make your lawn and garden the pride of the neighborhood.

1. Get Your Soil Tested – Why buy water-polluting fertilizer if you don’t need it? A soil test provides a list of recommendations for soil amendments to help you make the right decisions for your spring lawn.

2. Seed Bare Spots – Bare spots aren’t just bad for curb appeal, they allow dirt to get carried away with rainwater and cloud-up aquatic habitats—and they indicate something is wrong with your turf. To fix bare spots, test your soil, consider soil amendments and investigate other ground cover options that might do better in your yard.

3. Plant More Plants – Trees, shrubs and perennials beautify your yard and reduce water pollution more than grass. A bonus—you won’t have as much grass to mow when you replace lawn with flower beds and trees. Go all out and choose native plants which are adapted to thrive in our climate and require less water and fertilizer throughout the year.

4. Mulch to Perfection – Cover your flowerbeds with two inches of mulch. It helps to prevent soil erosion, seals in moisture and reduces weeds.

5. Water Wisely – There’s so much you can do to conserve water while you are watering! Watering in the morning when the sun is low and temperatures are cooler minimizes evaporation by 30 percent. Make sure your sprinklers aren’t watering your driveway to maximize efficiency. And for FREE water, install a rain barrel to collect rainwater from your downspouts to use for all your outdoor water needs.

6. Clean Up Your Mess – When your outdoor work is complete, make sure you clean up the right way. Leaves and yard waste should always be composted or disposed of in accordance with your locality’s requirements (bagging, placement, etc.). Also, if you have applied fertilizer, make sure none has fallen on to hard surfaces like sidewalks and driveways. Sweep fertilizer back into your yard to minimize water pollution.

7. Ask The Pros – If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer and prefer to have someone else maintain your landscape, do your homework before hiring a contractor. Use this list of eight questions to ask your lawn care provider to be sure the work they do in your yard will not harm local waterways.

For more green-friendly lawn and garden tips, visit askHRgreen.org, your go-to source for all things green in Hampton Roads.

About HR Green

With a focus on simple steps residents can take to find their “inner green,” HR Green is a region-wide public awareness campaign of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the 16 cities and counties it serves. The campaign is centered around www.askHRgreen.org, a central, go-to resource for everything green in Hampton Roads. Site features include pages with easy-to-use green practices to implement in your home, yard, business, community and classroom, an interactive calendar highlighting regional events and the “Let’s Talk Green” blog, written by a team of local experts who work in the region’s municipal utility and environmental divisions.

LOOKS LIKE FUN!