We are often asked the seemingly simple question “do you do organic landscaping?”. We assume this means “can you take care of my yard without using synthetic pesticides?”, which we can certainly do. But unlike in agricultural, there is no mandated standard for the term “organic” within landscaping. What this means is that a landscaper can legally use all kinds of pesticides while still marketing their services as “organic”.
One way to ensure that a landscaper uses earth-friendly practices is to ask if they are “NOFA certified”. The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) has led the way in establishing and updating organic land care standards since the turn of the century. Landscapers who voluntarily earn NOFA’s certification are trained in and commit to upholding these organic land care principles. We’ve been certified since 2012.
What is sustainable landscaping?
Keep in mind that sustainable landscaping is actually more about what you do than what you don’t do. To actually improve the health of your yard, you need to do more than refrain from using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Sustainable landscapers work with existing natural systems to maintain and improve soil health, control invasive plant species, and increase ecological diversity.
By carefully selecting the “right plant” (often native varietals) for the “right place” (based on sun, drainage, and other site conditions), sustainable landscapers can reduce the need for fertilizer. To prevent plant diseases and pests, we pay attention to proper pruning techniques. And to nourish the soil and reduce waste, we make use of compost.
Don’t fall prey to “greenwashing”. If you care about sustainable yard management, find out what practices your landscaper uses. Learn more about our accreditations here.