OLC Articles

Native Plants Fight Back Against Invasive Species Eco-Attack

by Andrew Keys

What’s all the fuss about invasive plants? In a nutshell, invasives are plants from other parts of the world that break out of gardens and spread maniacally through our local ecosystems, threatening native flora and fauna, because the things that keep them in check where they grow naturally don’t exist here. And because of that, invasives out-compete whole communities of native plants, replacing ecosystems that support an abundance of life with communities that support little more than the invaders themselves.

Lawns: Organic Lawn Care for the Cheap and Lazy

Must do:

  • Set your mower as high as it will go (3 to 4 inches).
  • Water only when your grass shows signs of drought stress and then water deeply. (Put a cup in your sprinkler zone and give your grass about 1" inch of water.)

Seasonal 1: March Forward to a Beautiful Lawn

Spring is finally here! Have you been looking out the window and wishing that you were out working in your yard, and being able to smell that nice earthy aroma, and having the warm sun on your shoulders?  To get you started, here are a few tips on spring lawn care.

...The New Great American Lawn

Once upon a time, long long ago, far far away, in an America that was much simpler than today, there lived lawn - lawn of every size and description.  These lawns were spread out over the suburban landscape like a diverse living carpet and were tended for their utility and beauty, much like today, but with one big difference. 

Meadows, a Realistic Approach

In an attempt to attain the perfect lawn, Americans are using enormous quantities of water, fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and fossil fuels to make grass grow more vigorously, then spending time and money on a weekly basis to keep it short.

A Landscape Piece

The gentle snow of early March emphasizes our crab apple’s arching limbs, the dogwood’s gracefully spreading branches, and the ash’s stiff uprightness.

Lawns: Good Watering Practices

"Many US cities and some states, even in the Northeast, report that 50% of residential water use goes to lawns and landscapes," says Amy Vickers, author, Handbook of Water Use and Conservation (WaterPlow Press),  "Over 75% of the river drainage basins assessed in Massachusetts are classified as 'flow stressed,'

Lawns: Healthy and Beautiful Organic Approach

Using organic techniques, you can grow a beautiful and healthy lawn without contributing to pollution. And, once you manage to overcome the negative effects of any past

Lawns: Simple Seasonal Calendar

Spring

Rake yard and add leaves and debris to compost pile
Overseed bare patches and topdress with 1/4" finished compost, water new grass
Check mower, sharpen blades and raise to 3"
Mow when grass reaches 4-5", leave clippings on lawn
Hand pull weeds

Lawns: Weed Problems?

Many so-called “weeds” are beneficial to the lawn ecosystem and weeds are tolerated in an organic lawn to varying degrees. It wasn’t until the advent of selective herbicides that a lawn consisted of only grasses. Before that, any plant that lived under the mower blade was considered “lawn.”  This diversity of species led to lawns which were more tolerant of adverse conditions.

Mosquitoes, Ticks and Fleas

How wonderful it is to have the warm weather return! But there are three annoying insect pests that often can make the summer less than enjoyable: fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Happily, there are organic controls that can be applied by the landscaper or the do-it-yourselfer to help eradicate the problem.

Native Perennials in the Garden

Before we ask, “What perennials should we plant?” we may want to ask the larger question, “Why do we plant perennials?” In the past, herbaceous plants

Poison Ivy

It’s one of the worst possible itches, and most of the time, you don’t even know where or how you picked it up. Poison ivy, Rhus radicans, is a native plant that is usually less than welcome in the suburban yard or garden.  While its fruits provide valuable food for birds, its oil, urushiol, secreted by its leaves, stems and roots causes an allergic reaction in many humans. 

Ten Reasons to Ditch Your Lawn and Garden Chemicals

Adapted from a factsheet by the Organic Lanscape Alliance, Toronto, Canada 
http://www.organiclandscape.org/ (Used with permission.)

Lawn chemicals are unnecessary. Historically, organic lawn care has been practiced for much longer than chemical lawn care and it can easily be implemented on any lawn. Safe and effective alternatives exist for most chemical pesticides and fertilizers. There is no need to expose our families, communities and local wildlife to chemicals that are known or potential hazards.