It looks like spring weather may finally arrive in Cleveland. If you’ll be taking advantage of the warmer weather by doing some yard work, keep these water-saving and environmentally-friendly tips in mind.
Use lawn chemicals wisely
When used correctly, pesticides and fertilizers can protect plants from damage and help a garden flourish. But if used or disposed of improperly, pesticides and fertilizers can pollute stormwater runoff and our environment.
Always read and follow all lawn chemical directions and warnings carefully. Only use the specified amount and avoid applying them right before it’s windy or rains as newly-applied or excess pesticides and fertilizers are more likely to wash off into storm drains, wasting your money and contaminating local waterways.
Also, be sure to use the right type of fertilizer for your soil. Get a soil test or check your soil type before applying fertilizer to your lawn or garden.
Grass clippings are an excellent source of nutrients for your lawn and can act as free fertilizer. Remove the grass catcher from your mower and let your mower mulch the clippings, recycling them back into the soil. Or add them to your compost pile if you prefer to collect them.
Find ways to conserve water
If you’re sprucing up your landscaping, consider using native plants. Since these plants are accustomed to local the climate, they require less care, such as watering or the need for pesticides or fertilizers.
Install rain barrels to collect and store rainwater from spring storms that you can use for watering your lawn or garden. This not only saves you money on your water bill but also helps reduce stormwater runoff.
Cover your garden beds with a thin layer of mulch or compost to help retain moisture, reduce evaporation and minimize runoff. Be careful not to spread it too thick, however, or it can work against you by preventing moisture from reaching the roots.
When clearing debris from your driveway, deck, patio, etc. use a broom instead of a hose.
Check for leaks
Check your outside spigots and hoses for leaks that may have occurred from freezing over the winter. These types of leaks can be costly if left unchecked but are often easy and inexpensive to repair.
If you have a sprinkler system, check that for leaks, too. In-ground irrigation systems are also susceptible to damage from winter frost. Make sure your system is set correctly so that it doesn’t turn on when it’s raining.
Doing some spring cleaning indoors? Take the opportunity to inspect your faucets and toilets for leaks as well. Like outdoor leaks, these can often be fixed with little effort or cost but can have a big impact on reducing your water bill.