Did you know that the average Sacramento area homeowner produces 1000 pounds (one-half ton) of yard waste each year? Unfortunately, much of this plant debris is being hauled out of the area for processing, which results in higher costs, burning of fossil fuel, and negative impacts on traffic and air quality. You can cut back on yard waste by adopting River-Friendly landscaping practices such as carefully selecting the right size plants for your yard or reusing plant material by leaving grass clippings on your lawn, mulching, and/or composting. Here are some steps you can take to get started:
Reduce plant debris to the landfill
- Choose plants that can grow to their natural size in the space allotted them
- Select trees with a mature height of less than 20 feet for planting near power lines
- Replace sheared hedges with plants that can grow to their natural shape & size
- Prune only to complement the natural form and strengthen the structural integrity of the plant — don’t prune unnecessarily
- Avoid over-watering and excessive fertilizer — these create rampant plant growth that weakens the plants and generates plant debris
- Use goats for controlling weeds and creating firebreaks — goats will eat many weeds that are otherwise very difficult to control. As they graze, they return nutrients to the soil and eliminate the need to haul off plant debris.
- Separate plant debris for recycling — residential green waste programs keep this material out of landfills
Keep plant debris on site
- Grasscycle — leave clippings on the lawn after mowing, allowing them to decompose and release their nutrients into the soil
- Use plant debris as mulch
- Compost plant debris
Use salvaged materials
When renovating a landscape, consider new uses for the old materials rather than sending them to the landfill. For example, use broken concrete to create a walking path.