EARTH-KIND® Environmental Landscape Management System

Ruthan Rogers Memorial Rose Garden
Ruthan Rogers Memorial Rose Garden
Farmers Branch Historical Park
An EARTH-KIND® Demonstration Garden

EARTH-KIND® Environmental Landscape Management System is based on 20 years of research by Texas A&M University. EARTH-KIND® combines the best of traditional horticulture and organic gardening to create a low maintenance landscape that will provide maximum protection for the environment. EARTH-KIND® methods protect and preserve todays resources for future generations.

EARTH-KIND® Goals

1. Landscape water conservation.

2. Dramatic reduction in the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

3. Reduction of yard waste entering landfills.

Guiding Principles

• Base landscape decisions with a deep, abiding respect for the environment using modern scientifically-sound, research-based information,

• Select EARTH-KIND® plants when possible and practice techniques of plant selection and culture to avoid pest problems before they occur,

• Use pesticides as a last resort. When use is absolutely necessary, select the most EARTH-KIND® or environmentally responsible product available,

• Putting EARTH-KIND® techniques into everyday practice will help your family, community, and environment. Remember “EARTH-KIND® to benefit humankind.”

Steps to an EARTH-KIND® Landscape

1. Planning and Design-

Start with a well thought out design for your landscape that will conserve water and energy. Implement your design over time as resources become available. Consult professionals if necessary.

2. Practical sized turf areas-

Turf grass requires more irrigation and fertilizer than properly prepared planting beds and therefore will require more maintenance.

3. Select appropriate plant materials-

Always use plants that have very strong genetics (EARTH-KIND®), are attractive, highly pest resistant, and extremely well adapted to the soil and climate in your area.

4. Soil Improvement-

In sandy soils, incorporate 4 inches of local organic material (plant based compost). In heavy clay soils, thoroughly incorporate 3-4 inches or organic material plus 3 inches of expended shale and till to a depth of 6-8 inches to open and aerate the soil. Crown the beds (higher in the center) to further improve drainage. Do not walk in your beds to avoid soil compaction. Have a sample of your soil analyzed. Soil sample kits are available from you local County Extension Office or garden center. Results are usually available in 10-12 days and can cost as little as $10.00. Base your choice of fertilizer for your turf on these recommendations (properly prepared Earth-kind planting beds will not require fertilizer). Make sure 50% of the nitrogen in the fertilizer is in slow release form and eliminate any unnecessary, environmentally detrimental nutrients based on the results of your soil test.

5. Use efficient irrigation and rainwater catchment-

Utilize drip or soaker hoses in landscape beds whenever possible. Switch from automatic to manual on your irrigation system and modify the irrigation system so that turf areas and landscape beds are in separate irrigation zones. Capture rainwater in a rain barrel or larger container to increase the amount of high quality water available for landscape use.Water thoroughly only when the soil is dry to a depth of one inch.

6. Use mulch-

Using mulch has the highest environmental impact yet is the lowest technological water conservation practice. Mulch all flower beds, shrubs, newly planted trees, vegetables (virtually everything except turf) with a 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch material. This will not only conserve moisture but will also act as a super slow release fertilizer as the mulch breaks down and improves the fertility of the soil.

7. Appropriate maintenance-

Apply mulch two times a year (usually spring and fall) to bring it back up to a 3 inch level. Eliminate weeds, monitor and adjust irrigation systems, mow at the right height for your turf, use fertilizer properly and manage insect and disease problems carefully.

“To forget to dig the Earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Comments are closed.