Sustainable, green landscapes possible

John Young, Gill, Daniel J., Owings, Allen D.  |  8/29/2008 11:24:50 PM

News You Can Use -- Sustainable Landcapes, Distributed 08/29/08

Sustainability and “green” are commonly used words in mainstream media. We think of gardening and yard care as green activities, but many of our practices are not green at all, such as overusing pesticides and fertilizers.

We horticulturists used to associate “green” with certain businesses, such as wholesale nursery growers, retail garden centers and landscape installation/maintenance companies.

Today, green typically describes practices that focus on sustainability and that reduce our “footprint” on the environment. These practices include finding alternative energy sources, conserving energy and using recycled or sustainable building materials and techniques.

Sustainability for the home landscape means using pesticides less often, using less fertilizer or switching to slow-release fertilizers, mowing less often, selecting the right plant for the right location, managing and minimizing irrigation, controlling urban storm water, mulching to control weeds and many other options.

All of these practices come together in a landscape that provides an attractive environment using plant material that is suitable for the local climate.

Fortunately, the desire to use fewer pesticides, less fertilizer and less irrigation water and to include more native plants in the landscape is at an all-time high.

Sustainable principles and practices are being demonstrated in a new educational program by the LSU AgCenter – the LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center. The 7-acre site offers a great educational tool for home gardeners. You can see sustainable landscape practices in action. It is open to the public.

Monthly educational programs are scheduled as well, starting this month: Sept. 12, fall vegetables; Oct. 17, cool-season bedding plants; Nov. 14, tree planting and selection; and Dec. 5, cold protection in the landscape. The presentations will be made by LSU AgCenter horticulturists John Young and Dan Gill.

A companion program, “Louisiana Yards and Neighborhoods,” is also available. It focuses on seven landscape principles: choose the right plant for the right place, water efficiently, maximize mulch and recycle yard waste, fertilize efficiently, manage yard pests, protect surface water and wetlands and provide for beneficial wildlife habitats.

LaHouse is located near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (La. Hwy 30) in Baton Rouge across the street from the new LSU baseball stadium and next to the LSU Golf Course parking lot.

More information on home gardening and LaHouse is available at, and


Contact: Dan Gill at (225) 578-2222 or
Contact: Allen D. Owings at (985) 543-4125 or
Contact: John Young at (225) 578-2415 or 578-2222 or
Editor: Mark Claesgens at (225) 578-2939 or

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