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Healthy Landscaping

How "Green" is Your Grass?

Healthy LandscapingHaving healthy landscaping is more that just green grass and lush foliage, it is a commitment to the health of your employees, customers, and our entire community. Adopting beneficial landscaping practices prevents water pollution, promotes conservation, and it saves time and money spent on excessive maintenance.

How to Create Environmentally Friendly Landscaping:

Less Toxic Gardening: Gardening with Fewer Chemicals

Some garden supply manufacturers may want you to believe that a beautiful yard is only possible with a hefty dose of chemicals such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers. The truth is that a healthy, thriving garden can be yours without the excessive use of toxic products. With the right selection of plants you can attract beneficial insects that literally do the pest control for you—because they feed on pests!

What's wrong with pesticides?

The problem with pesticides is that they are rarely selective. That means that birds, pollinators like bees and butterflies and other beneficial insects are often far more sensitive to the chemicals than the insects you are trying to kill! For example, just one granule or seed treated with diazinon, a common household pesticide, is enough to kill a small bird. Pesticides pose a danger not only to wildlife but also to the health of our families and pets.

In addition, pesticides and other chemicals get washed off our lawns and into storm drains by rain and over-watering. From there they flow directly into our creeks and the Bay, harming fish and other wildlife, and threatening our clean water supplies. Most pesticides cannot even be removed at the sewage treatment plant.

Integrated Pest Management

There is a gentler and safer approach to keeping your garden pest-free! Integrated Pest Management (IPM) combines a number of common-sense practices to fight pest insects, minimizing the use of pesticides, or avoiding them completely. Following IPM practices you can:

  • Identify the pest insect correctly and get to know its life-cycle so that you can choose the most effective treatment and best timing
  • Adjust conditions such as soil pH, watering practices and plant selection to encourage beneficial insects and/or inhibit pests
  • Use pest specific, biological pesticides that have very little or no effect on beneficial insects, and are safe for the environment.

How to dispose safely of garden chemicals

If you must use conventional pesticides, apply them sparingly and as a last resort. Store them safely and out of reach of children. Never dispose of leftover or unwanted pesticides in the sink, storm drain, or in the trash. Please take them to the SVSWA's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility in Salinas.

Fact Sheets about Less Toxic Gardening

Our Water Our WorldLearn more about less toxic gardening and how to combat specific pests using Integrated Pest Management practices.

As part of the program "Our Water, Our World", fact sheets about less toxic gardening are available at the locations listed below, on this web site and on the Our Water Our World Web Site:

Local Distribution | Participating Stores | Download fact sheets | Our Water Our World Web Site

Local Distribution

As part of the program "Our Water, Our World", fact sheets about less toxic gardening are available at many partner stores and the following locations:


Monterey County Library
315 El Camino Real

King City

Dept. of Social Services Reception Room
116 Broadway

City Hall
212 S Vanderhurst Ave.


Monterey County Library
17822 Moro Rd.



California H2O Agency Headquarters
254 Commision St.

Ceasar Chavez Library
615 Williams Rd.

Housing Authority
123 Rico St.

John Steinbeck Library
350 Lincoln Ave.

Mo. Co. WIC
632 E. Alisal St.

Participating Stores

The following stores in the Salinas Valley are partners of the "Our Water, Our World" partnership. They offer less toxic gardening products as well as advice to help you make the right choice. Look for the "Our Water, Our World" logo on shelves and store displays, and for free fact sheets about less toxic gardening techniques.


Ace Hardware
222 Alta St.

Allen's Hardware
222 Alta St.


Rite Aid
650 Walnut Ave.

King City

LA Hearn Co.
524 Metz Ave.


Longs Drugs
17579 Vierra Canyon Rd.

Longs Drugs
8063 San Miguel Canyon Rd.


Ace Hardware
900 Front St.



Ace Hardware
1215 S. Main St.

Longs Drugs
662 East Boronda Rd.

Longs Drugs
347 E. Alisal St.

Longs Drugs
110 E. Laurel Dr.

Longs Drugs
1140 S. Main St.

Longs Drugs
17579 Vierra Canyon Rd.

Bokay Nursery
30 Hitchcock Rd.

Rite Aid
880 Northridge Shopping Ctr.

Home Depot
1800 N. Main St.

Orchard Supply Hardware
1067 N. David Rd.

Keep Your Lawn Happy with Grasscycling

What is Grasscycling?

Recycling your grass clippings - or "grasscycling" - means that you leave your grass clippings on top of your lawn after you mow. When done correctly, those clippings will rapidly decompose and naturally fertilize your lawn.

GrasscyclingWhy Grasscycling is Good

  • Grasscycling naturally fertilizes your lawn, because the grass clippings -and the nutrients they contain -remain on your lawn. As the clippings naturally break down, those nutrients are released back into the soil to nourish your grass. No additional fertilizer needed!
  • Grasscycling saves time, effort and possibly money. No need to collect, bag and transfer grass clippings into your yard waste cart or even transport them to a composting facility.
  • Grasscycling saves water. Grass clippings left on the lawn keep act like a protective cover to your lawn, keeping moisture in the soil and preventing sun damage.
  • Grasscycling reduces waste, because it keeps grass clippings out of the landfill.

How to Grasscycle Correctly

You can grasscycle with any mower. Push-mowers and electric mowers are better for the environment.

  1. Take the bag off of your mower. Make sure that your mower has a safety flap to cover the chute. If you are unsure check your owner's manual.
  2. Mow your lawn when the grass is dry to prevent grass clippings from clumping.
  3. Mow frequently to keep grass clippings short so they decompose more quickly. If grass is long, mow in a circle so clippings get chopped up several times.

Minimize Turf
Even if you practice grasscycling, maintaining grass consumes time, energy, and resources. Consider leaving natural habitats in tact or utilizing meadows or other naturally low maintenance plantings.

Switch to Natives
Landscape your workplace with native plants. They require much less use of pesticides and fertilizer, because they developed with your specific location in mind. It also creates a great habitat for beneficial native species of birds and butterflies.

Hire a Green Gardener
If like many business, you contract out your landscaping services, hire a Green Gardener. The Monterey Bay Green Gardener Program trains and certifies local gardeners in ecological landscaping, and they can help you find services in your area.