Impact of Yard Care on the Environment
Every year nearly four million tons of yard trimmings in the form of leaves, grass, tree limbs, weeds and other organic debris end up in Texas landfills. That’s about 20 percent of all trash in municipal landfills, resulting in a cost to Texans of approximately $250 million per year.
Texans spend more than $300 million each year just to dispose of yard trimmings in landfills, and billions in total yard care costs, including watering, fertilizing, chemicals to combat harmful insects and plant diseases, and professional services.
Costly synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are applied to compensate for the loss of nutrients and protection once provided by organic debris and rich soil life. As the soil loses organic matter, it allows more of these chemicals to wash off and run through it contributing to the pollution of lakes, streams, and underground water.
Your yard is the environment over which you have the most control. As our population increases and home landscapes become a larger part of the Texas environment, it is more important than ever to manage them responsibility.
Tips for Working Half as Hard in the Yard:
- Don’t Bag It: Mow without a bag and leave grass clippings on the lawn, saving time, energy, and valuable landfill space. Plus, your lawn will love the nutrients! The Don’t Bag It program is a combination of common-sense watering, mowing, and fertilizing practices. The frequency of watering and mowing will depend on the type of grass in your yard. Remove no more than one-third of the grass blade surface at any time. With this mowing schedule, grass clippings will not contribute to thatch.
- Mulching: Mulch is any organic material such as wood chips, grass clippings, leaves and compost, that is spread over the surface of the soil, locking in moisture and reducing soil temperatures. It also helps quench plants’ need for water while restricting weeds by blocking sunlight, and serving as a blanket for plants in winter by helping maintain constant soil temperature. Mulching is one of the cheapest water conservation techniques. Irving’s Mustang Mulch, which is made of untreated brush collected from the curbside, is mulched at Irving’s Hunter Ferrell Landfill. It is available bagged or loose for a nominal fee. For more information, call (972) 264-3772.
- Compost: Composting provides an almost constant source of free fertilizer and soil conditioner. Benefits include improving the structure of the soil, maintaining healthy plant growth, helping conserve water and removing organics from garbage and putting them to good use in the environment. Find out more about composting, from common terms to homemade bin samples.
- Leaf Management: During the fall and early winter, when lawns stop growing and the leaf rake replaces the lawnmower, tree leaves become a major component of lawn wastes. Mowing, mulching and composting are several ideas for keeping these wonderfully beneficial by-products of our beautiful Irving landscapes out of the curbside collection system. Check out more information about leaf management.