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Environmental Stewardship

At Signature Landscape, we love the outdoors - it's in our DNA!

Nurturing trees and plants is our passion. That’s why we use environmentally conscious lawn and garden care techniques at every step of our landscaping process. The choices we make in tending our clients’ landscapes have effects that span far beyond the individual property; most notably, they can reduce storm water runoff, erosion, and waste that goes to community landfills. Over the next couple weeks, we will share some of the ways we do our job with environmental health in mind.

Fertilizer
Fertilizer is an essential tool for landscaping - but it can be tricky. Over-fertilizing adds to polluted runoff in our streams and lakes, yet under-fertilizing keeps grass and plants from thriving, at the same time making them susceptible to weed invasion and erosion. At Signature, we determine the varying needs of every plant we tend to, perform and interpret soil tests, and apply the appropriate fertilizer at just the right time. We're committed to using phosphate-free fertilizers, thereby reducing impacts to common bodies of water. Finally, we are careful not to let stray fertilizer sit on sidewalks or curbs where it can run off into nearby water. Instead, we quickly carefully blow any product back into turf areas.

Organic Waste
Did you know that organic (or vegetative) waste accounts for about 20 percent of all waste... and has long been a problem for community landfills? Signature Landscape knows this, and we use a helpful tool to reduce the impacts of the inevitable waste produced by our work. Our Airburner incinerator is certified by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to burn yard waste without polluting the air. In the process, we are reducing the amount of material going into landfills, while producing a clean, natural ash. This ash is desirable as a recycled product for agriculture, growers, nurseries, and as a good landfill cover.

Did you know that Kansas landfills are not required to separate yard waste? We recommend contacting your trash service provider to find out how they handle yours.  To find out more about how to properly recycle your yard waste please visit the Mid-America Regional Council website.

Mulch
The right mulch can change an outdoor space for the better... but there’s more to choosing and applying mulch than you might think! Because mulch provides so many benefits, such as efficient water usage, improved soil and the reduction of storm water runoff, we work hard to maximize those benefits for our clients and for the environment.

Plants
Plants are the life and "main attraction" of any outdoor space - so it's only natural that we work hard to take care of them! Plants that are suited to a site’s soil, sun and water conditions can minimize water use, help control noxious weeds, and maintain the area's overall health. Healthy plants are less costly to maintain and require less weed and pest intervention, too.

Did you know that the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map was updated this year? The map - which shows where specific plants are most likely to thrive - can be accessed here. Take a look if you're planning on making any landscaping changes this year.

Soil
Soil provides the nutrients for your entire landscape - and ensuring the proper mix of minerals, organic matter, air, water and beneficial organisms keeps the soil healthy and able to do its job. Soil testing lets us take appropriate measures to correct any potential imbalances, all while avoiding unnecessary fertilizer applications. Ultimately, maintaining healthy soil aids in water conservation and helps to preserve precious resources.

Many opportunities for soil testing are available for homeowners in the Kansas City area - Johnson County K-State Research and Extension and University of Missouri Extension, for example, offer soil testing for a small fee. This is a test worth taking to get an idea of your soil's overall health, and it can clue you in to any changes that should be made.

Water
When it comes to water, our philosophy is simple: put water only where it's needed, when it's needed. We design irrigation systems that avoid watering sidewalks and driveways, and use automation to sense soil moisture. This method, known as smart irrigation, keeps landscapes thriving while conserving water at the same time.

Chances are, you don’t have a fancy irrigation system like the ones we have on our commercial properties, so you may be wondering... what can you do at your own home? Fortunately, there are a few things you can try. Watch sprinkler placement to ensure that you’re only watering the areas that really need to be watered. Additionally, you can manage your water use by purchasing a simple timer from the hardware store. Simply turn the water on and set the timer before you go to bed at night, or before you leave the house in the morning. You won’t risk over-watering if you forget to turn it off!

Runoff
When we design a landscaping plan, we take into consideration how to best collect and filter storm runoff and minimize impervious surfaces.This allows us to reduce the impacts of irrigation on our community storm sewer systems, streams and rivers.

For helpful information on creating a rain garden to maximize the use of rain water, visit the Rain Garden Network website.

Pests and Weeds
When we use the proper methods to enhance plants’ natural defenses, we can reduce the need for chemical applications of pesticides and herbicides. Our teams are knowledgeable about the life cycles of pests; we perform regular observations of our properties, then diagnose and intervene where necessary in a timely manner. When we do use pesticides, we take the time to spray only affected plants, rather than a blanket over-application.

To learn more about controlling pests and weeds in our region, visit the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension website.


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