Conserving Long Islands Working Farms and Natural Lands

Keep Your Lawn & Garden Beautiful

Rick at Bridge Gardens

Paul Wagner

Grass Samples

 Perfect Earth Project

The Peconic Land Trust has partnered with the Perfect Earth Project, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and the Peconic Estuary Program on sustainable lawn care and gardening programs at Bridge Gardens.

Free Lawn Care Advice
As the 2016 gardening season draws to a close, we offer a big thank you to Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics. Every Wednesday, from April 6 through October, he was at Bridge Gardens, offering free lawn care advice to homeowners and professional landscapers, from 2-5 pm. This program is free and is sponsored by Greener Pastures Organics, the Perfect Earth Project, Cornell Cooperative of Suffolk County, and the Peconic Land Trust. Paul has returned for 2017, offering free advice every Tuesday from 2:30 - 5pm. Stop by! 

Email your questions!
A special email address, lawnexpert@peconiclandtrust.org, is now available, with Paul Wagner answering your questions. Email advice is ongoing -- send your questions to Paul today! 

Turf Demonstration Project
Our Garden Manager Rick Bogusch, under the guidance and assistance of Perfect Earth Project and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, installed 5,000 square feet of turf grass demonstration plots in 2014.  Garden visitors in 2016 saw the variety of grasses available, including those most suitable for the East End, and learned how to care for each type in a sustainable way. 

Community Gardens
Bridge Gardens offers access to 22 Community Garden plots -- and once again they are sold out! For more information about getting your plot for next year, contact Rick Bogusch or Denise Markut at 631.283.3195. 

Fact Sheets and More
Cornell Cooperative Extension has fact sheets available on lawn care and a variety of gardening techniques. For more information, visit their website.

Homeowner Reward Program and Bayscaping from Peconic Estuary Program
The Peconic Estuary Program is offering a unique opportunity for you if you live within the Peconic Estuary watershed area: financial rewards for homeowners who remove turf and pavement, and add native vegetation areas and/or rain barrels to their properties. Homeowners can earn up to $500 to offset the expense of installing green infrastructure on their properties, including rain barrels, rain gardens and native plan gardens. To learn more, visit their website.

Toxin-Free Lawn & Landscapes: A Seminar
In 2016 we continued our partnership with Perfect Earth Project and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County: on the Toxin-Free Lawns & Landscapes: A Seminar. For both the professional landscaper and the home owner, the seminar covered a wide-variety of topics. Weren't able to join us? Check out this short video overview from 2015 and visit our online calendar for more upcoming programs on sustainable gardening!

 

Produced by volunteer Geoff Wells! Thank you!

 

The Basics of Perfect Lawn Care:

advice from the Perfect Earth Project

  1. Soil. The foundation for plant health, strong deep roots and nutrient uptake. Chemicals kill the natural immune systems that occur in soil. Healthy soil contains organisms that fight lawn and landscape pests, eliminating the need for continual toxic pesticide treatments.
  2. Water. Overwatering promotes shallow rooting, fungus diseases, mosquitoes, and nutrient run off. Do not start watering in early summer until the weather is truly dry. Monitor your irrigation settings: water infrequently and deeply. Once, or maybe twice a week for at least an hour is generally adequate.
  3. Mowing. Mow high: 3-4". Longer leaf blades collect more sun, provide more energy to roots and shade out weeds. Mow often: remove no more than 1/3 of a leaf blade at a time. Mow sharp: dull mower blades tear grass which invites fungus infections. Leave clippings: grass clippings return nutrients to the soil.
  4. Aeration. Aerate annually, more often in high traffic areas. Aeration reduces compaction and encourages better drainage and incorporation of nutrients.
  5. Fertilization. Feed lawns in early fall only. Spring Fertilization encourages fast, weak growth and invites disease problems in hot weather. Use compost or slow-release, organic fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers feed your lawn continuously over the course of the growing season, eliminating the peaks and valleys of chemical fertilization. They are also less likely to run off, reducing the risk for watershed pollution.
  6. Overseeding. Rake and over seed in fall when grass seed germinates best and weed seeds are dormant. Grass will then out-compete weeds in the spring. 
  7. Diversity. Clover fixes nitrogen (natural fertilizer) and fills gaps in lawns. Dandelions are excellent aerators and are soon overwhelmed by the healthy turf they pioneered.
  8. Be Patient. Most good things take time, and a healthy, pest resistant lawn is no different. By making your lawn accustomed to gradual, rather than rapid change, you produce a balanced ecosystem that is resilient to environmental stresses around it.