2018-01-12 / Home & Garden

Do you have a Carolina yard?

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano

How does your yard measure up when it comes to environmentally friendly landscape design and management practices? Terasa Lott, state coordinator for the SC Master Gardener Program and coordinator for Carolina Yards, recently outlined the Carolina Yards program to Richland County Master Gardeners.

Carolina Yards, an offshoot of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, provides homeowners a template of best practices and actions for creating low maintenance landscapes that work in concert with nature rather than in conflict with it.

The Carolina Yard incorporates twelve principles of landscape design:

• Maintain Healthy
Soil
• Recycle Yard Waste
• Mulch Matters
• Right Plant, Right
Place
• Garden Like a
Local
• Remove Invasives
• Be Wise When You
Fertilize
• Manage Your Pests
Responsibly
• Water Wisely
• Rain as a Resource
• Reduce Runoff
• Provide for Wildlife


Principles 10 and 11—Use a rain chain and rain barrel to harvest rain for the garden while reducing runoff with permeable pathways. Principles 10 and 11—Use a rain chain and rain barrel to harvest rain for the garden while reducing runoff with permeable pathways. The homeowner evaluates his yard using an online scorecard listing appropriate achievable actions for each of the principles. For example, Maintaining Healthy Soil is achieved by taking a soil test annually to assess pH and basic nutrients and following test recommendations. Recycle Yard Waste like grass clippings, deciduous leaves, egg shells, corn cobs, and vegetable food prepping waste in composting and vermicomposting bins can return nutrients back to the soil.

Right Plant, Right Place includes planting trees and shrubs to provide shade to east and west sides of the house, grouping plants for soil, light and climate requirements, and planting ground covers to reduce erosion on slopes or under trees.


Principle 3—Master Gardeners, Linda Hughes, Wanda Hill, and Karlann Brenner spread a 2-3" layer of organic mulch on a bed of daylilies. Principle 3—Master Gardeners, Linda Hughes, Wanda Hill, and Karlann Brenner spread a 2-3" layer of organic mulch on a bed of daylilies. Manage Your Pests Responsibly requires learning beneficial insects that provide biological control of harmful pests and using non-chemical controls like hand-picking of insects and pruning of diseased areas.

Reduce Runoff involves sweeping grass clippings back on the lawn, clearing yard debris and trash from street gutters and storm drains, and installing permeable pavers on patios, walkways and driveways.

Provide for Wildlife by planting native plants, keeping brush piles and older trees for shelter, and establishing butterfly gardens with nectar and host plants.

Each positive action earns inches on the scorecard. Meeting minimum requirements, a score of 36 inches, qualifies your yard to become a Certified Carolina Yard. Currently, there are 340 certified yards in the state.


Principle 12—To provide for wildlife in the Cottage Garden Don McGinnis instal ls a bat house. Principle 12—To provide for wildlife in the Cottage Garden Don McGinnis instal ls a bat house. In 2016-17 a committee of Richland County Master Gardeners under the direction of Regina Monteith created a demonstration Carolina Yards Cottage Garden at the Clemson/Sandhill campus, which may be viewed at www.clemson.edu/extension/carolinayards/demonstrations.html

In spring 2018 Clemson will offer a five-week online Carolina Yards course to help homeowners plan and implement a sustainable landscape plan.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina have yardstick programs to encourage homeowners to practice conservation of natural resources at home for present and future generations.

Bring in the New Year with a resolution to assess the environmental quality of your landscape practices and take the necessary steps to create a Carolina Yard. www.clemson.edu/extension/carolinayards.

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