The greenest gardens are grown without excessive use of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.

Practice the 4 S’s

  • Select the least toxic option for getting rid of pests and pumping up the quality of your soil. All natural compost does wonders.
  • Strategically apply chemical products to your lawn or garden only when rain is not expected.
  • Spot-apply pesticides or chemicals only to the area that needs treatment.

Safely dispose of unwanted products at a Riverside County household hazardous waste collection center.

Natural Pest Control

When controlling bugs, there are many effective options you can try before reaching for pesticides and insecticides.

  • Physical: Try handpicking, barriers, traps or caulking holes to prevent infestations.
  • Biological: Rely on beneficial bugs like lady beetles and praying mantis to control harmful pests.
  • Chemical: Investigate the source of the pest problem and opt for the least toxic solution first.

Nature’s Fertilizer

One man’s garbage is another man’s garden. Organic food scraps and yard waste are a boon to plants and the planet.

  • Add leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste to the compost bin instead of tossing them away.
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn. They work as a natural fertilizer.
  • Learn how to start a nutrient-rich compost pile from the Riverside County Backyard Composting Program.

Be Water Wise

California is prone to drought, which means we all need to be wise with water use. Outdoor landscaping accounts for up to 40% of a home’s water use.

  • Irrigation timers: New sprinkler technology includes timers that read real-time conditions and deliver just enough water to keep your plants healthy.
  • Drip irrigation: Using drip irrigation, soaker hoses or micro-spray systems for flowerbeds and vegetation can help reduce your water bill and prevent runoff.
  • Sunrise/sunset watering: Water your lawn early in the morning or in the late afternoon when evaporation from the sun is low and the water has time to soak into the soil.
  • Watch for rain: When rain is forecast, turn off automatic sprinkler systems or install a rain sensor, which will switch them off for you when the drops fall.
  • Reuse and recycle: Capture water from the shower and sink and use it to water plants in the house and out in the garden.
  • Go native: Choose Southern California native plants for your garden. These low-maintenance, drought-tolerant varietals are also naturally bug resistant.
  • Learn more: Be Water Wise is a treasure trove of resources on water-friendly gardening. They also offer classes.

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