Gardener’s Guide to an Eco-Friendly Yard

As cooler weather creeps steadily forward, gardeners are unearthing their summer crops and planting cool-season crops to prepare for the fall. Gardening is a therapeutic and rewarding hobby for people of all ages—and whether you garden to produce food for your family or to showcase a beautifully manicured yard, you probably use a plethora of gardening tools and resources, some of which can negatively impact the environment.

Everyone enjoys a green lawn, sparkling pool, and rich mulch beds free of unsightly weeds. Yet, some of the things we use to keep this oasis thriving can be harmful for the soil and wildlife.

Pools

For people with children—or those who just enjoy a cool dip now and then—a pool is an attraction that can make your house the “place to be” during the hot summer months. But pools are, admittedly, not eco-friendly.

Pools lose one-quarter to one-half of their water content daily due to evaporation; chemicals used to treat pool water for algae can harm the environment; and pools require a large amount of energy to run, accounting for 0.9 percent of all U.S. residential energy consumption.

While pools may be expensive, energy-consuming behemoths, there are ways to make them more environmentally friendly. Placing a pool cover over your pool when no one is swimming will reduce water evaporation by 95 percent. By cleaning your pool regularly and checking its pH level daily, you can reduce the amount of shock treatments needed for algae growth. Make sure all pool chemicals are locked away in a safe, dry place away from any animals or plant-life. Lastly, to save energy, you can use a pool pump timer and install a solar pool heater.

Weed Killers

Gardeners love planting crops. Filtering soil through your fingers, watching water shower down upon a bed of leafy green, and plucking fruits and vegetables from the vine is satisfying—but one thing ruins it for everyone.

Weeds.

Gardeners have invested time and money in weed killers for years, and though it seems like a tempting solution, weed killers should be avoided at all costs. Weed killers can travel toward other plants, especially on days in which the temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, damaging and killing them. Additionally, they can contaminate water, affecting freshwater ecosystems and polluting drinking water.

Roundup, a weed killer that has recently garnered negative attention in the media, has been linked to the decline of bee colonies. According to a study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, reduces the beneficial bacteria in bees’ guts, making them more susceptible to diseases.

Using toxic chemicals isn’t the only way to combat weeds. For weeds that grow in sidewalk cracks and in landscaped rock beds, pouring boiling water over the weeds effectively kills them. For weeds that grow in the soil near other plants, it is best to pluck these out yourself then use preventative measures to ensure they don’t return, such as placing newspaper or landscape fabric beneath soil or mulch to smother them.

Fertilizer

Vibrant flowers and healthy gardens can spruce up any yard, but all plants need extra nutrients to flourish—which is why many gardeners turn to fertilizer.

Fertilizer is essentially food, containing essential nutrients—such as phosphorous, nitrogen, calcium, and potassium—that plants need to grow healthy. Like weed killer, however, conventional fertilizer can negatively affect the environment.

Often, gardeners overuse fertilizer with the misconception that the addition of more nutrients will grow healthier plants faster. Yet, adding excess fertilizer to your soil can damage your plants. Symptoms of excess fertilization include brown leaf tips, wilted plants, and reduced plant growth. In addition to this, adding excess fertilizer to the soil contributes to soil degradation and nutrient pollution of water resources.

Only 50 percent of nitrogen is absorbed by plants; the other 50 percent is absorbed by microbes in the soil, which consume the nitrogen and convert it to nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas. This nitrogen is also absorbed into groundwater and washed into rivers and streams via runoff, which can lead to algae blooms.

Reducing fertilizer use, however, isn’t enough to prevent the harmful effects of conventional fertilizers. Conventional fertilizers possess high salt contents, which affects soil health by causing acidity. Residual salts within the soil can reduce germination, prevent water absorption, and weaken plant growth. Additionally, conventional fertilizers contain harmful ingredients, such as carcinogens; metals; and anhydrous ammonia. These ingredients are toxic to both humans and wildlife.

To prevent soil degradation, nutrient pollution, and weakened plant growth, gardeners should invest in an environmentally friendly fertilizer. Luckily, a new environmentally friendly fertilizer is readily available.

xVital for an Eco-Friendly Yard

xVital, xVirity’s liquid fertilizer, contains no salts or chemicals. In fact, its only two ingredients are ionized water and nitrate.

Plants have a difficult time absorbing conventional, solid fertilizers, which tend to clump together and create nitrogen hotspots. Then, when it rains, these clumps are carried toward streams and rivers, contributing to nutrient pollution.

Because xVital is liquid in form, plants have an easier time absorbing it, which means it does not contribute to nutrient pollution—and you never have to add excess fertilizer!

Our online ratio calculator makes it easy to determine how much solution you need to apply to your plants. Additionally, because you can dilute it in water, it lasts longer than conventional fertilizers.

xVital works well on perennial crops, such as wheatgrass; vegetables; strawberries; and tomatoes.

You can find tips for applying xVital to your plants on our About page. Contact us today for your first bottle!

 

Sources:

Glyphosate Could be a Factor in Bee Decline, Study Warns

17 Ways to Make your Pool More Eco-Friendly

Harmful Effects of Fertilizers 

 

 

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