Garden waste management:

Garden waste, also known as yard waste, is a biogenic type of waste collected during the municipal garden maintenance activities, such as trimming, pruning, cleaning of the green plots, and cultivated grounds.

It often consists of twigs, clippings, sticks, and multiple organic products. Its composition can differ importantly depending on the season, method of the collection of waste, as well as location. Since it contains a significant amount of organic matter, its sustainable management is becoming most important.
With climate change awareness gaining the right attention all over the world, municipalities are searching for new composting methods of dealing with the garden wastes that will not only allow its safe disposal but also create a strong environmental and economic impact. For that purpose, Garden waste is a unique and abundant form of feedstock collected in almost every municipality of India.

Ways to solve garden waste disposal problem

  • Choose low-waste plants and trees

According to research, yard trimmings alone produce approximately 35.4 million tons of waste every year. This includes spent flowers and leaves, broken branches, weeds, and pruning refuse.

Realistic artificial plants and trees generate no such waste. Including some artificial greenery is one of the simplest ways to reduce a garden’s waste.

If you’re interested in natural greenery, look for plant and tree varieties that don’t produce much waste. Deciduous varieties lose their flowers and foliage in autumn. Unless you’re prepared for the extra clean-up required, avoid including many deciduous plants in your garden.

Look for native plants and trees. These typically have fewer pests and disease issues. They also have a greater chance of flourishing in your garden than non-natives. Including these in your garden means fewer prematurely dead plants, hence less waste.

  • Be careful with plant and tree placement

Even the cleanest, hardiest of plants and trees can contribute to waste if they’re planted in the wrong spot. Nobody likes having a trendy triangle planter box sitting idle. That’d be wasteful too. But using it for a variety too large for that space can be worse. It’ll require frequent pruning, repotting, and might even affect the plant’s health.

It’s typical for the biological waste from tall trees, hanging greenery, and vertical flowering vines to scatter around. Makes keeping the garden tidy a tough, time-consuming task. We’d recommend you pick low-waste varieties of artificial plants/trees for these spots.

Don’t let the garden’s stylistic needs dominate the process of plant selection. Got some empty wall-mounted planter boxes in a shaded area? We understand your desire to plant some eye-catchy ornamentals. But the conditions have to be right for the living wall panels you choose. A sun-loving ornamental will do poorly in the spot, may end up dead, and contribute to the waste.

  • Prune and mow, properly

Lawns, trees, and potted plants all have specific care needs. Mowing and pruning too much or too often is a waste of time and labor and produces needless biological waste.

For most grasses, removing the top one-third length is sufficient. When in doubt, it’s safer to mow high.

Overcutting can diminish the grass’ nutrient reserves and the amount of energy they can produce.

Mowing high has its own benefits. Longer grass creates shade for the ground, preventing it from drying out too quickly. They also keep sunlight from the weed seeds on the ground. Mowing low allows the weed seeds access to the sun, thereby spurring their growth.

When pruning, never remove more than thirty percent of a tree or plant. Over pruning can affect the plants’ flower and fruit output, and can even cause them to die.

  • Prevent weed growth

Weeds aren’t just unsightly. They fiercely compete with your plants for the moisture and nutrients present in the soil. Weed removal is often one of the biggest contributors to a garden’s waste output. The solution lies in preventing their growth.

Weeds multiply fast. A new weed has the ability to sprout in just 12 hours. It can subsequently grow 1-3 inches per day.

The first step of preventing weed growth is eliminating the existing ones. Annual weeds such as chickweed and crabgrass can be easily removed by hand. These have shallow root systems. A quick tug is usually enough to pull these out of the ground.

Perennial weeds such as thistle and dandelion are tougher. They have extensive root systems and can grow back from the smallest sections of roots left in the ground. If you’re dealing with these, make sure you pull out the entire root system.

Regular fertilization and deep irrigation ensure your plants are healthy and capable of competing with the weeds. Lush, healthy grasses and plants are less welcoming to weeds.

They’ll shade out the weeds, thereby hampering weed growth. They’ll also develop strong root systems, leaving little room for the weeds to establish.

  • Compost

Composting is one of the best ways to reuse garden waste. Practically all the biological refuse of a garden can be used for composting.

The compost thus produced can then be fed back into the garden, so there’s no real waste to dispose of. This “black gold” enriches the soil’s nutrient reserves and can also improve its drainage.

It’s a wonderful, environmentally benign alternative to chemical fertilizers. In the long run, composting can also help you save good money. Composting is easy. A 3×3 feet space is sufficient for a small to medium-sized commercial garden. You can use a commercially available compost bin or build one using scrap lumber, wire mesh, and other waste materials.

Compost bins need little attention and, managed right, don’t emit foul odors. Shaded areas are best suited for compost bins.

Here’s a list of materials you shouldn’t add to your compost bin:

  • Weeds and plants that have died of a disease
  • Pet manure
  • Fruit peels that may contain residues of pesticides
  • Sawdust that contains oil residues
  • Meat, fish, and related scraps. These attract pests and should only be used in compost bins that have been specifically designed for composting these materials

Compost piles need to be turned in every 1-2 weeks. If you don’t like the sound of that, opt for “no-turn composting”.

Simply add a good quantity of straw or some other coarse substance when building the pile. Mix it well with the other materials. This will speed up the rate of compost production and eliminate the need for turning.

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