University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter Article


Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor

Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet?  If you are like most people, you've probably resolved to lose a few pounds or exercise a bit more or perhaps even cut back on your spending.  But this is a good time to resolve to do your part to help protect the environment.

Here are 12 resolutions for the coming year:

1.  To put as little as possible into the local landfill by recycling cardboard, cans, and compostable materials.

2.  To start a compost pile for grass clippings, dead leaves, plant residues, and other organic matter, including kitchen scraps to be used in the garden as compost and mulch to enrich the soil and improve plant growth.

3.  To use biological controls for pests and disease in the garden whenever feasible, including planting disease-resistant varieties and buying organic pesticides.

4.  To apply pesticides and other horticultural chemicals only as a last resort and to always use them safely and prudently.

5.  To store all garden chemicals in their original containers, out of reach of children and pets, and preferably in a locked storage area.

6.  To use fertilizers only as needed, according to soil tests, and use organic forms whenever possible.

7.  To mow properly (often, not too high or low), and leave grass clippings to replenish and recycle organic matter and nutrients back into the soil.

8.  To make water conservation a high priority by mulching, using efficient watering methods such as drip irrigation systems, and selecting drought-resistant ornamental plants.

9.  To develop a landscape plan that works with the environment, for example, ground covers on steep banks to prevent soil erosion and shade trees on the sunny side of a home to act as a natural air conditioner.  Landscaping also can help reduce temperature extremes, filter out air pollutants, and stop noise.

10.  To create natural wildlife habitats by planting trees and shrubs that provide food or cover or by leaving brush and undergrowth in certain areas for birds, rabbits, and other small animals to use as a protective haven.

11.  To provide food and water for the birds and to continue to feed them once they have come to depend on you.

12.  To encourage others, whenever possible, to do all they can to help preserve the environment and our natural resources.

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