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Green gardening tools and techniques that really work

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Americans have embraced recycling and are enthusiastic about cleaner energy sources. Yet when it comes to caring for their outdoor environment, many people still use less earth-friendly tools and techniques. So what’s standing in the way of Americans going green in their gardens and landscapes?

One answer may be the common misconception that eco-friendly products and practices don’t work as well as less environmentally conscious ones – such as chemicals that repel common garden pests, but can also cause groundwater contamination.

“Advances in environmentally responsible products have made it possible for homeowners to effectively care for their gardens and landscaping, while protecting the environment at the same time,” says Elizabeth Summa, president of Repellex, which makes eco-friendly lawn and garden products.

Some greener gardening tools are time-honored, like rotary lawn mowers. Others are leading-edge, such as pest-control products that are eco-friendly. Here are a handful of environmentally safe, effective ways to keep your landscape and garden green this spring and summer:

Responsible repellent – Deer, rabbits, squirrels and gophers – animals munch on landscaping and garden plants because they’re hungry and the vegetation tastes good to them. Eco-friendly repellents, like those made by Repellex, use taste aversion and natural ingredients like pepper, dried bloodmeal and egg to make non-edible plants less appealing to foragers. Repellex Systemic Tablets deliver a dose of pepper to the roots of plants – just place in soil, water and walk away. The flavor gets absorbed through the roots into non-edible plants, making them taste unappealing to garden pests. For edible plants, Repellex Fruit & Vegetable uses a combination of putrescent eggs and plant extracts to keep animals and insects away from fruits and vegetables all season long. Log on to www.repellex.com to learn more.

Friendlier mowing – Long before combustion engines made it possible to mow your lawn quickly and easily, people relied on rotary mowers – also known as reel mowers. Environmentally responsible gardeners have rediscovered these people-powered mowing machines. Reel mowers have many positive attributes: they are pollution-free, quiet and very economical to operate. Modern reel mowers are lighter, smaller and with fewer working parts that require maintenance and repair. They’re also a great way to exercise; walking behind a rotary mower burns more calories than pushing a self-propelled mower.

Organic fertilizing – Chemical fertilizers are a well-known source of groundwater contamination, yet some form of additional nutrients is almost always necessary for successful gardens and lawns. The EPA says composting can eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and results in higher crop yields. You can compost food waste from your own kitchen, as well as grass clippings and other yard waste. Composting your own organic waste at home not only reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, it can provide you with an effective, eco-friendly and essentially free way to fertilize gardens and flower beds. For lawns, you can find a variety of organic fertilizers – based on natural ingredients rather than chemicals – at most hardware, big box stores and garden centers.

Kinder weed control – Weed killers are also well-known contaminants, and can be hazardous when used around small children or household pets. Before you bring out the spray bottle, consider weed-elimination alternatives that are kinder to the environment. Some very effective options include using a mixture of vinegar and water, boiling water and even pulling weeds by hand. Removing weeds by hand also adds a health benefit for you – you’ll burn more calories pulling weeds than simply spraying them.

Bug-free without bugging the environment – Chemical insecticides can be harsh on the environment – not to mention skin if you use a chemical repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other biting bugs. Instead of chemical insecticides, consider natural alternatives. Repellex’s Mosquito & Tick product keeps mosquitoes, ticks and other insects off you by keeping them out of your lawn and garden. The all-natural repellent sprays on your lawn, garden, patio, deck and home exterior to ward off these disease-carrying insects.

Choosing to go green with your lawn and garden care doesn’t mean you have to give up effectiveness. With the right tools, it’s possible to accomplish your lawn and gardening goals while protecting the environment at the same time.

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