How to Prevent Runoff Pollution From Your Garden

comments (0) April 25th, 2016

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MeganWild MeganWild, member
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You carefully tend to your garden and lawn, giving it the extra fertilizer to help it flourish, but water runoff can strip all of this hard work away. As the garden nutrients get washed out, they end up in local water sources, which results in pollution.


To prevent the erosion of your garden, as well as to protect the environment, here are five ways to prevent runoff.


Collect the Rain

When the rain hits your garage or house, it gets directed down eave troughs and out to gardens and lawns. This stream of water runs quickly and carries with it the topsoil and the nutrients you've added to the garden.


You can prevent this, and also lower your water bill. It's done with a rain barrel. The large, usually plastic, containers can be positioned under a downspout from your eaves trough. The barrel will collect the incoming water instead of letting it drain away.


The collected water can then be used strategically and in the places YOU choose - without a drop of water coming out of your tap or garden hose and raising your monthly water bill.


Rain barrels are available at most gardening centers and home improvement stores. You can also make your own. You can find or make one that suits the style and space you have.


Once you've purchased or designed the model you want, make sure to find level spot to place it. You can put a concrete slab underneath the barrel to keep the tank level.


Dig a Swale

Redirect run-off by creating a swale on your lawn. This is a small divot dug directly into in your lawn, a fair distance from your home, that will collect the rainwater.


This task will require heavy-duty equipment that can dig in the neighborhood of three to four feet. This can typically be done over the course of a weekend by a contractor, or you can undertake the project yourself. A short-term rental, such as a small excavator can quickly create the depth needed for this project. Your back will thank you, and most heavy equipment dealers handle the transportation logistics, so all you have to worry about is the execution portion.


You can also add rocks to the swale for style and function. The rocks help stabilize the soil structure and act as filters. Make sure you have large rocks in place if the flow of water is substantial.


Take the time to look into what's buried under your property, such as utility lines below the surface. You can contact the federally designated call-before-you-dig number. It's there specifically to help homeowners avoid hurting themselves or damaging utilities.


Get Rid of Impermeable Surfaces

When rain can't penetrate a surface, it simply runs over and off it. This only increases runoff. Asphalt, concrete and hard soil are examples of impermeable surfaces found on your property. If, or when, you decide to replace such surfaces, consider opting for one of the various types of gravel or flagstone.


These surfaces allow water to be absorbed by the ground in the spaces between them. This will slow the flow of the runoff water.


Grade Your Land

The more angled your lawn and garden, the more runoff you'll have. To prevent this, you can level your land. This will ensure the water you add to your garden and lawn stays put and gets absorbed where you want it to be. This requires professional equipment and, quite possibly, a professional to operate it.


If you're still experiencing runoff even through your lawn is fairly level, it can mean your lawn isn't absorbing moisture. This is can be caused by soil compaction, where the soil is densely packed and hard. You can try replacing the lawn or breaking it up by aerating.


Reduce Pollutants

You are in control of many of the substances that get added to your lawn and garden and create dangerous runoff. Cut down on the chemicals you use and look for more natural alternatives. The fewer foreign substances you add to your garden, the less impactful runoff you'll have.


Unnecessarily losing moisture from your garden and lawn via runoff is not only a pain, but it can also create pollution. To minimize your environmental impact, consider these five ways to prevent runoff pollution from your garden. You'll be a good steward to the ecosystem, and save yourself money while you're at it.

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posted in: Gardening, Runoff