Sheep can benefit urban lawn landscapes and people

Read the full story from the University of California – Davis

About 25 woolly sheep who seasonally — for the past two years — leave barns to nibble on lawns at various central campus locations, are doing much more than mowing, fertilizing and improving the ecosystem. The sheep also are improving people’s mental health.

This woman wants to destroy your lawn

Read the full story at Down East Magazine.

And replace it with something better. Why Heather McCargo and the Wild Seed Project want us all to think differently about what we plant (and yeah, to think about it in the winter).

Think globally on climate, act locally on leaf blowers

Read the full post from the Regulatory Review. See also a 2008 study on VOC emissions from leaf blowers in the Chicago metro area.

As nations gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last fall for the latest United Nations climate conference, the language of complex international climate negotiations—“loss and damage,” “nationally determined contributions,” “global stocktake”—can seem far removed from the realities of our day-to-day life. For the growing chorus of people concerned about climate change but unsure of the next steps to avert climate disaster, listen to the noise emanating from the yard next door. We should work collectively to regulate, and ultimately ban, gas-powered leaf blowers in our neighborhoods.

Consider what happens every fall in my new hometown of Atlanta. It is a time of crisp days, stunning foliage, and cool nights. Sadly, Atlanta’s autumn beauty is too often disrupted by the ear-splitting sound of gas-powered leaf blowers. Every morning, landscaping companies deploy these gigantic beasts across the city, strapped to workers’ backs like dystopian World War II-era flamethrowers. The enemies are Atlanta’s leaves, and the leaf-blowers are determined to disrupt office Zoom calls, infants’ naps, and the peace and tranquility of your home.

What is so wrong with these gas-powered monstrosities? Let me count the ways.

Campus Landscape Master Plan: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Download the document.

The Campus Landscape Master Plan (CLMP) presents a shared vision for the overall campus landscape and provides specific design guidelines, tested through extensive public engagement and stakeholder input. The campus community desires a landscape that inspires, nurtures, restores and educates. They desire a multifunctional landscape that provides opportunities for collaboration, celebration and gathering; a landscape that clearly defines the University of Illinois brand and is accessible, safe, inviting and manageable; a landscape that respects origins and heritage, a landscape that will amplify the region’s biodiversity and assist in the University with achieving its Climate Leadership commitments. The CLMP outlines a vision to achieve a resilient, sustainable campus landscape. The realization of this vision will require a commitment towards phased investment year by year over the coming decades. By committing to a sustainable campus the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) will embody resilience as a model landscape in the Midwest and a world-leader in campus native landscape expression and honoring rain water as a valued resource.

Water Quality and Professional Turfgrass Managers

North Carolina State University Extension has developed a fact sheet to provide professional turf managers with management strategies that preserve and protect water resources. It includes best management practices for:

  • erosion and sedimentation
  • wetlands
  • ponds and lakes
  • turfgrass selection
  • fertilizers
  • irrigation
  • mowing
  • integrated pest management, and
  • pesticide selection, use, storage, and disposal

Urban runoff threatens water quality. Infrastructure changes could help.

Read the full story from WUNC.

It’s storm season, and that means flood season.

When it rains, water sheets off the roofs, parking lots, and roads that cover an increasing portion of the landscape. To avoid flooding, city infrastructure focuses on moving all that water into pipes and streams, getting it downstream and out of town as fast as possible. But the current standard for dealing with stormwater makes pollution worse for everything and everyone depending on urban streams, including the people who get their drinking water from farther down the river.

As cities continue to develop at lightning speed, washing our problems down the river becomes an increasingly unsustainable prospect.

SAWS reports drought sparks interest in water-saving yards in San Antonio

Read the full story at Texas Public Radio.

The San Antonio Water System reports the drought is sparking interest among customers about how to install a water-saving landscape.

The city-owned water utility offers education, water-saver coupons, and other rebates to make it easier to replace thirsty lawns with native or drought tolerant vegetation and do away with automatic sprinkler systems.

Mitigating the impacts from stormwater runoff in solar construction

Read the full story at Solar Builder.

The scale of solar deployment required to meet the various state and federal goals for decarbonizing our economy will require that additional open, cleared land be leveraged to support this buildout.

As such, it’s critically important that as our industry scales up, environmental impacts such as stormwater runoff are properly managed both during and after construction.

Landscape industry seeks to transition to zero emissions

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

The landscape industry is seeking to transition to zero emissions but two industry organizations warn that the shift will require investment in expensive equipment and infrastructure. The American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) will work together on an approach to the responsible transition from gas to zero-emission equipment in the industry.

Florida’s 76,000 stormwater ponds emit more carbon than they store

Read the full story from the University of Florida.

As Florida and other states become more urbanized, an increasing number of stormwater ponds are built. Florida already has 76,000 such ponds. The newer ones emit more carbon than they store, a new study finds. Researchers hope this finding will inform policy makers and others about when, where and how to install stormwater ponds.