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Landscape and Plant Solutions

factsheets to help you maintain a pesticide-free landscape! 

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Natural Landscaping

Site Preparation

Lawns

Radiant Heat Weeders

Restoring Lawns

Lacewings

Roses

Corn Gluten Meal

Flameweeding

Integrated Pest Management

Shrubs and Flowerbeds


check Natural Landscaping

To a child a dandelion may be a cheery flower, but to his parents a dandelion may be a bane in the backyard. What makes a wildflower a weed is the damage it causes to more desirable plant species. This can be perceived aesthetic damage or damage due to increased competition for water and nutrients. Many gardeners use herbicides to get rid of these weeds. However, it is possible to manage weed problems without causing more damage to the environment by using herbicides. Download the Factsheet

check Site Preparation

Whether you are creating an entire landscape design from “the ground up” or altering an existing site, planning is crucial. First determine the size of the site that needs to be prepared and which techniques you will use. When working with an established landscape, it may be best to start in a small area and then ex-
pand. Site preparation has to be done before any planting. Remember, no site preparation technique, including herbicide applications, will completely eliminate weeds. Plan a landscape that will establish easily on your site, grow vigorously, and outcompete unwanted plants.  Download the Factsheet

check Lawns

Lots of pesticides are used on lawns. Many people are familiar with 2,4-D, an herbicide that’s often found in “weed and feed” products and is the most commonly used lawn care pesticide. According to the U.S. Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency, about 9 million pounds of 2,4-D are used on U.S. lawns every year—that’s more 2,4-D than is used on all 50 million acres of wheat grown in this country!  Download the Factsheet

check Radiant Heat Weeders

An uncommon, but promising, solution to managing unwanted plants is technology that has been used in
Europe for about a decade—the radiant heat or infrared weeder. With a metal body tapering off to a weed-
lethal head capable of reaching temperatures of 1800 degrees, the most common form of this garden tool looks like a cross between something out of the most recent George Lucas film and a conventional flame-weeder.  Download the Factsheet

check Restoring Lawns

Have you ever stood behind your lawn mower or in the lawn care aisle of your local home-improvement center in dismay? Have you ever wished that you and your neighbors could take care of your lawns in an ecologically sound way?  Download the Factsheet

check Lacewings

True to their name, lacewings have two pairs of wings “laced” with intricate veins. Though they look fragile and gentle, lacewings are avid predators. Known in their larval stage as “aphid lions,” lacewings prey on many unwanted common yard and garden insects. This article focuses on the green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea.   Download the Factsheet

check Roses

Roses, the most popular perennial flower in the U.S., entice and attract many of us with their elegant,
fragrant flowers. They grow well in the Pacific Northwest; spring rainfall, sunny summers, and moderate win-
ters all help roses thrive. These same conditions, however, encourage some common diseases and roses are often considered troublesome plants that need the help of fungicides to grow well. Fortunately, by following some simple rules for planting and taking care of roses you can enjoy beautiful blooms without using pesticides.  Download the Factsheet

check Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal is a by-product of processing corn to make corn starch and corn syrup. It is generally sold as a golden yellow meal or as light brown granules. In addition to its use as an herbicide, it is used as food for cows, cats, dogs, fish, and poultry.  Corn gluten meal is about 10 percent nitrogen so it’s a good natural fertilizer.  Download the Factsheet

check Flameweeding

Since the beginning of civilization, fire has been a tool for managing vegetative growth in the landscape.
One source lists eleven major uses of fire by Native Americans: for hunting, crop management, improving growth and yields, fireproofing, insect collection for consumption, pest management, warfare, “economic extortion,” clearing areas for travel, felling trees, and clearing riparian areas. However, it took quite some time to figure out how to control fire for modern agricultural and home garden usage.  Download the Factsheet

check Integrated Pest Management

One of the goals of pesticide reform is to reduce and eliminate pesticide use. There are a lot of different ideas on how best to accomplish this. Many activists have supported an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) framework that gives multiple opportunities to find ways to reduce pesticide use.  Download the Factsheet

check Shrubs & Flowerbeds

Designing your yard so that it doesn't encourage weeds can save you countless hours of weeding. If you have an area in your yard that seems prone to weed problems, think about redesigning and replanting it to help reduce weeds. Plant well-adapted varieties; their vigorous growth means weeds affect them less. Use headers -- wood, metal, or concrete dividers that are buried at least eight inches deep and stick up a couple of inches above the soil. Headers are useful for separating lawn areas from shrub beds, so that the grass doesn't invade. Low headers act as mow strips, allowing your mower to cut all the way to the edge of the lawn.  Download the Factsheet