Here in the beautiful Rogue Valley, everyone wants clean rivers and streams. Unfortunately, every day chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides can be toxic to wildlife and humans. If the chemicals are applied incorrectly, or are allowed to run off into streams or storm drains, they actually fertilize the water, which results in algae blooms. Algae blooms remove oxygen from water which can cause tragic fish kills and severe environmental damage. Garden pesticides can harm humans and pets too, with kids and pregnant women being at the highest risk for exposure.
We can still have great looking lawns and gardens without using harmful chemicals that affect our family’s health, as well as water and wildlife. In this section you will learn how to landscape in ways that help, rather than harm streams.
Keep these three themes in mind for Stream Smart use of lawn and garden chemicals, including fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
Walking into the garden center can be bit overwhelming with potting mixes, fertilizers, soil conditioners, pesticides, and amendments stacked from floor to ceiling. The trick to a Stream Smart garden is to find out what your garden needs prior to buying any chemicals.
Think Before You Buy =
Using lawn products incorrectly can damage the environment and cause dangerous chemicals to enter Oregon’s streams and rivers.
Lawn care products can help our lawn and gardens look great, but these products can also harm our water bodies if they are not disposed of properly. Never dump leftover products down the drain, as they will be carried directly to creeks, and do not throw them in the trash.
Information on Chemical Products
EPA information on Pesticides
EPA’s Citizen’s Guide to Pest control and Pesticide Safety Brochure
EPA Region 10’s Pesticides Program
Grow Smart Grow Safe Chart of the toxicity of garden products
OSU National Pesticide Information Center
OSU Extension Plant Clinic
Soil Testing Guidance
Soil Testing for Home Gardeners
Alternatives to Chemical Use
Grow Smart Grow Safe Handbook– A consumer Guide to Lawn and Garden Products
Alternatives to Pesticides
Natural Gardening guidebook
Oregon Tilth research for sustainable agricultural practices
Xerces Society- Pollinator Conservation
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