Backyard Tips and Tricks for the Environment!

Cardinal Flower photo by Bryan Hamlin

Summer planting and yard cleaning are well underway!

by Amanda Treat

Get out your clippers and seed packets. Here’s a few tips to make your yard look great while taking care of neighborhood nature.

Green Up

  • If you still have leaves from last fall, you can turn them into leaf mulch for your lawn or garden with a leaf mulcher. Leaf mulch is one of the most nutritious fertilizers you can apply, and reducing an enormous pile of leaves into a barrel of mulch is immensely satisfying. Skip the energy-consuming leaf blower and just use a rake. You’ll get a light workout, and your neighbors will silently thank you.
  • Start composting to reduce your overall waste and create a nutrient-rich soil for your future gardens (and add your leaves!). You can easily get started right at home.
  • Plant and replace non-natives with native plants. Learn more about how to find the best plants for your garden here.

Save Water

  • Reduce some or all of your grass with drought resistant perennial plants or drought resistant groundcovers. This will help you reduce water usage, skip the fertilizers, and never have to complain about mowing the lawn ever again.
  • Don’t wait for drought conditions to consider your water usage. Water your lawn and garden early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid evaporation. If you use a timer, check to make sure you are not overwatering and allowing water to run off your property.
  • Build a rain garden and install rain barrels to conserve water.
Garlic Mustard photo by Tony Atkin

Learn about Invasive Pests

  • Invasive plants can be poisonous and can suffocate trees, shrubs, grasses and gardens. Learn how to identify invasive plants like swallow-wort, bittersweet, Japanese knotweed, or garlic mustard so you can weed them out and throw them away (do not compost invasive plants!). You can report invasive plants to EDDMapS or to iNaturalist.
    • Join the Invasive Plant monitoring and removal team! Learn how you can get involved by emailing Maddie Morgan at
  • Asian Jumping Worms have moved into the area and are devastating woodlands, grasses, and gardens. Help stop the spread; don’t give away or accept outdoor plants or compost. Never dump excess soil or plants near the Fells.
  • Rats have become common in all of our towns. Call a professional exterminator if they get out of control. Do NOT attempt to eliminate them yourself with rat poison.