Gardening Practices-The Problems:

  • Non-native trees, shrubs and ornamentals are not beneficial to native pollinators and wildlife.
  • Traditional lawns provide little or no benefit to wildlife.
  • Common weedkillers and pesticides harm beneficial insects and soil microorganisms needed for healthy ecosystems.
  • Most conventional fertilizers are produced using ammonia extracted from natural gas. Two-thirds of natural gas is obtained by fracking.
  • For every ton of fertilizers manufactured, two tons of carbon dioxide are produced.
  • If excessive fertilizer is applied, excess nitrogen not used by plants is converted by soil microbes into nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas estimated to be approximately 300 times more potent than CO2. Excess nitrogen can also be leached into lakes, rivers, and oceans, where it promotes growth of algae that use up all the oxygen, resulting in fish kills.
  • Yard waste is estimated to make up 20 – 50% of US landfills. Grass decomposes in landfills anaerobically and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
  • According to the EPA, each gas-powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new automobiles driven 12,000 miles per year – lawn care produces 13 billion pounds of toxic pollutants per year.

The Impact of Change

Native plants provide wildlife habitat that supports pollinators. They require less water and fewer chemicals when compared to non-natives. Just half an acre of lawn converted to forest and allowed to grow to maturity will sequester more CO2 than a car emits in a year. Mulch mow: If clippings were left to decompose on lawns, the US could store up to 16,700,000 tons of carbon each year in the soil.

At IMGC 2023, we are:

• Providing over one dozen educational presentations and workshops covering a wide variety of topics to help make your program, community, home garden, and gardening practices more sustainable.

What you can do:


  • Attend presentations and workshops that will enhance your knowledge of:

*sustainable gardening practices


*gardening with native plants and grasses


*protecting honeybees, monarchs, and                        other pollinators


*gardening in a changing climate


*gardening for wildlife

*plants for birds

*attracting hummingbirds

*green mulch


*drought resilience

*water-wise landscaping

*non-toxic gardens




Impact of Wildlife Gardens,

Hitchler, L. Grass lawns are an ecological catastrophe,, 10/3/2018.

Gu, C., Journal of Environmental Management, 1/9/2015.

Greenberg, P. The Climate Diet, p. 58.

Ray, C. “Tree Power,” New York Times, 12/3/2012.