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Eco-Justice Team - July/August 2024

Mosquito season is upon us. Last month we provided two recipes for non-toxic repellents. This month, thanks to the Washington Post, we have some ideas for reducing the presence of mosquitoes at home.

One of the most effective ways to avoid breeding mosquitoes is to make sure you eliminate any standing water you have in your yard. If you have a small pond in your yard, consider adding small fish which will feed on mosquito larvae. Also, choose your plantings wisely. Any plants that captures water, such as pitcher plants, hold water and are potential mosquito nurseries. Surprisingly, boxwoods, evergreen shrubs, and sunshine ligustrum shrubs harbor mosquitoes. Consider pruning back any thick bushes in your yard that might offer mosquitoes protection.

Dawn and dusk are prime active times for mosquitoes, so try to avoid strenuous exercise during those hours. Where possible, fans are very effective. Ceiling fans on a porch or covered patio are effective in keeping air moving. They don’t need to be at high speeds, as mosquitoes can’t fly fast. For an area such as an open patio, a box fan set at medium or low aimed in the direction of the occupants will work as well.

As we enter the height of summer, a few ideas for lawn maintenance:

  1. Keep your mower height at 3 - 3.5 inches. This helps shade weeds, reduces stress and loss of moisture.

2. Do not water daily. This encourages top growth at the expenses of root vigor. If you have to water, do a deep watering less frequently.

3. Consider “going gold” by reducing the amount of watering during the hottest part of the year. Mother Nature did not intend for grass to be green during our summer season. Reducing watering also helps conserve water, always a good practice.

4. “Grasscycling,” where you leave your grass clippings on the lawn when you mow, is free fertilizer and keeps them out of landfills. Clumping is easy to disperse with a rake.

Remember that all commercial lawn fertilizers contain salts, which can build up and actually harm your lawn long term. Remember what the Romans did to Carthage?


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