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Environmentally-Friendly Lawn Care

Environmentally-Friendly Lawn Care

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Environmentally-Friendly Lawn Care

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  1. Environmentally-Friendly Lawn Care The Johnson County Master Gardener Connection

  2. Environmentally-Friendly Lawn Care • Who we are • Johnson County Environmental Department (JCED) • Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program • K-State program • Office here at Extension • Provide environmental assistance to small business – free, confidential, non-regulatory Low Emission Lawn Care

  3. Low emission lawn care? • Why - environmental impact • Ozone • Health impacts A conventional lawn mower pollutes as much in an hour as 40 late model cars. Low Emission Lawn Care

  4. Some pollution facts • Gas-powered tools contribute 5% of the U.S. air pollution. • Lawn and garden equipment users spill 17 million gallons of fuel (more than Exxon’s Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska) each year when refilling outdoor power equipment. Low Emission Lawn Care

  5. Program overview • Introductions and program overview • Defining the air quality problem • what is ozone • what are the health issues • how does this relate to lawn care and our program? • Opportunities to address the problem • low-emission equipment selection and maintenance • low-maintenance turf options • rain gardens Low Emission Lawn Care

  6. Program overview • Why is this important to master gardeners? • Common questions – expert advice • Personal and community health Low Emission Lawn Care

  7. How do we measure air pollution levels? An air quality monitor is an instrument that takes a sample of air and measures the amount of an air pollutant such as ozone or particulate matter in the air. All air monitors in the national network have to meet the same strict quality control standards so that data from all sites across the country is accurate and comparable. Low Emission Lawn Care

  8. Air Pollutants of Local Concern • Ground Level Ozone (O3) • Particulate Matter • PM 2.5 • PM 10 • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Low Emission Lawn Care

  9. Typical Air Monitoring Site Layout Low Emission Lawn Care

  10. KC Air Monitoring Network Low Emission Lawn Care

  11. Health Effects of Exposure to Ozone Asthma is the fastest growing childhood disease in the United States Low Emission Lawn Care

  12. What is Ozone? Ozone, or smog, is an odorless, colorless gas composed of three oxygen atoms. • Ozone occurs naturally about 10 to 30 miles above the earth and protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. • However, at ground-level in the air we breathe, ozone poses serious risks to human health. Low Emission Lawn Care

  13. O3 = + Where Does Ozone Come From? Ozone is not emitted directly into the air but is created by a chemical reaction in the air: VOC + NOx + Heat + Sunlight = Ozone • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) come from cars, trucks, buses, power plants, industrial facilities, citizen activities and other sources. Low Emission Lawn Care

  14. Ozone • Is a Seasonal Pollutant • Highest pollution levels in summer • (May-September) • Hot, sunny afternoons & evenings typically have the highest ozone concentrations Low Emission Lawn Care

  15. What is Ozone Pollution? Every day, the average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air, and children breathe even more air per pound of body weight. Ozone pollution has many effects on public health. Some of these are very serious. In the air we breathe, ozone poses serious risks to human health. Environmental repercussions - Ozone also adversely affects domestic and native plants and animals. Low Emission Lawn Care

  16. Why is Ozone Bad to Breathe? Ozone can irritate lung and airways, and cause inflammation much like a sunburn on your lungs. • Ozone can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma. • 10 to 20 % of all summertime respiratory-related hospital visits in the US are associated with ozone pollution. Low Emission Lawn Care

  17. Health Effects of Exposure to Ozone Coughing • Nose and throat irritation • Chest pain • Reduced lung function • Increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses • Aggravation of asthma • Children and people with chronic lung diseases are particularly at risk Low Emission Lawn Care

  18. Ozone Pollution • WHERE IS IT COMING FROM? • Possible sources • Kansas City citizens and businesses create our own urban air pollution. • Ozone precursor compounds are transported to the Kansas City urban area from Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, & Oklahoma by our south winds. • Combination of the above scenarios Low Emission Lawn Care

  19. What Makes a Bad Air Day (Ozone) in South Central Kansas? Hot temperatures… + Sunny skies… + South winds??? = unhealthy ozone levels • Johnson County Environmental Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) are working together to determine: • What local sources are significant contributors • The impact of weather and transport from other upwind urban/industrial areas Low Emission Lawn Care

  20. 8-hour Ozone Levels in KC Low Emission Lawn Care

  21. What is Particulate Matter? Airborne “particulate matter” consists of many different substances suspended in the air in the form of particles (solid and liquid droplets) that vary widely in size. Low Emission Lawn Care

  22. Cross section of a human hair (magnified to 60 mm) Coarse Particles (10 mm) Fine Particles (2.5 mm) What are Fine Particles? Fine particles are only a fraction of the size of a human hair. • Fine particles come from a variety of sources such as diesel trucks and buses, construction equipment, power plants, woodstoves, and wildfires. • Fine particles can also be formed in the atmosphere when gases are transformed by chemical reactions in the air. Low Emission Lawn Care

  23. Why are Fine Particles Bad to Breathe? Scientific studies have linked fine particles, with a series of significant health problems, because they easily reach the deepest parts of the lungs. • In the US, particulate matter, especially fine particles, is responsible for 15,000 premature deaths every year. • Diesel exhaust, a significant source of fine particles, can cause lung cancer. Low Emission Lawn Care

  24. Health Effects of Exposure to Fine Particles Premature death • Respiratory related hospital admissions and emergency room visits for cardiac and other conditions • Aggravated asthma • Acute respiratory symptoms • Chronic bronchitis • Decreased lung function (shortness of breath) • People with existing heart and lung disease, as well as the elderly and children, are particularly at risk Low Emission Lawn Care

  25. What Can You Do? • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities when ozone levels are high • Share a ride or take public transportation • Cut your grass after 6 pm • Refuel your car after 6 pm (fuel when it’s cool) • Combine your errands into one trip • Purchase low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicles ( Low Emission Lawn Care

  26. Why lawn and garden? Low Emission Lawn Care

  27. Lawn and garden is the largest non-road mobile category contributing VOCs Low Emission Lawn Care

  28. Kansas non-road mobile source emissions (2002 NEI) Low Emission Lawn Care

  29. Kansas commercial lawn and garden emissions (2002 NEI) Low Emission Lawn Care

  30. Kansas residential lawn and garden emissions (2002 NEI) Low Emission Lawn Care

  31. Where To Check On Local Air Quality? JCED “SkyCast” Air Quality Data on the Web at: Information on Air Quality on the Web at: Provides helpful information on air quality issues, increases awareness, and provides education to citizens and businesses about air pollution and how they can help. Low Emission Lawn Care

  32. Addressing the problem • Prevention is best • If you use a gas mower, keep it tuned and wait until evening to mow your lawn • Low-maintenance turf option • Existing master gardener publications • Keep your mower engine tuned and well-maintained • Consider purchasing an electric mower, or push mower if your lawn is small Low Emission Lawn Care

  33. Addressing the problem • Wait until evening to fill your mower with gas • Avoid spills, don't "top off" your tank, and tighten your gas cap • Use “No Spill” gas cans • Clean mowers with plain water Low Emission Lawn Care

  34. Reduce emissions through maintenance • Tune upyour lawn mower once a year.  This simple-to-do task takes 30 minutes or less and cuts your mower's emissions by up to 50 percent and fuel consumption up to 30 percent. ( Low Emission Lawn Care

  35. Equipment maintenance - engines • Engine oil and filter • Longer life • 25-50 hours or annually • Spark plugs • Better starting – annually • Air filters – clean or replace • Improves fuel efficiency • Improves performance – HP Low Emission Lawn Care

  36. Equipment maintenance Mowers • Blades – correctly sharpen • Better looking lawn (cut grass versus torn grass) • Requires less fuel -saves fuel • Stays sharp longer – 1/64th rule Low Emission Lawn Care

  37. Equipment maintenance • Disposal of used oil • Jiffy Lubes • Wal-Mart • Household Hazardous Waste • Oil, solvents, bad gas, and other chemicals • JCED Household Hazardous Waste facility. Call 913-715-6900 to schedule an appointment. The facility is located off I-35 and Lamar inside the Nelson wastewater treatment plant. There is a fee for SQGs. Low Emission Lawn Care

  38. JCED household hazardous waste facility Low Emission Lawn Care

  39. JCED household hazardous waste facility Low Emission Lawn Care

  40. JCED household hazardous waste facility Low Emission Lawn Care

  41. Equipment evolution • New manufacturers standards • EPA • California • Electric equipment – mowers and handheld • Issues with batteries • Readily available Low Emission Lawn Care

  42. No-spill gas cans • Stats • 75% reduction in VOCs • 17 million gallons spilt annually with conventional cans • Manufactured by Blish-Mize, Atchison, Kansas • Where to get or order them • McCray Lumber (OP) • Hartman (Shawnee Mission) Low Emission Lawn Care

  43. Low-maintenance lawn care options • Reduce need to mow • Rain Gardens • Native planting • Low-maintenance turf options • Chapter 8 Master Gardener manual Low Emission Lawn Care

  44. Rain Gardens • Use native prairie plants that absorb rain through deep roots • Absorb water from deep roots • Use water from roofs and roads • Mosquito death traps (need 48 hrs to hatch) • Drought-resistant and low-maintenance Low Emission Lawn Care

  45. Rain Gardens Rain Garden 4 P’s: Plan, Prep, Plant, Play • Plan the location • Keep it at least 10 ft from house • Direct downspouts into it • Clay soil may need compost • Use rocks as borders for transition to yard Low Emission Lawn Care

  46. Rain Gardens • Prep the soil • Dig in a low spot • Fill the bed with water (drains in a day you’re OK) • Clay soil may need compost • Make sure water overflows from garden to your property • Call 800-DIG-SAFE Low Emission Lawn Care

  47. Rain Gardens • Plant the garden • Plant “dry up high” • Plant “wet down low” • See sample rain garden designs at • Play! • Experiment • Enjoy the process • Explore the garden in all seasons Low Emission Lawn Care

  48. low-maintenance turf • Decrease or minimize fertilizing • Pages 39-42 • Turf species • Buffalo • Zoysia • Bermuda • Tall fescue • Kentucky Bluegrass Low Emission Lawn Care

  49. Turf options Low Emission Lawn Care

  50. Master Gardener Documents • Chapter 8 • K-State fact sheets • Turfgrass selection – professional series • Turfgrass mowing – professional series • Mowing your lawn Low Emission Lawn Care