Neighborly etiquette for landscaping choices.

Author:Marsh, Chuck
Position:Good (& Green

Remember: Cleanliness is Next to Good Neighborliness

Clean up or contain your junk. You may be okay living with your messes, but it's not okay to expose your neighbors to them. After all, a backyard mess is not only unsightly, it may provide habitat for mosquitoes and vermin.

Control your Mosquito Habitat

Mosquitoes breed in even small amounts of standing water and don't migrate much more than 100 feet from where they hatch, so eliminate any breeding places from your property and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Common breeding places include old tires, upright buckets, loose tarps or plastic sheeting, and poorly hung or maintained gutters. If you can't eliminate these habitats, treat standing water with mosquito killing baits made of Baccillus thuringensis israeliensis, an organic mosquito control compound available at local garden centers.

Avoid Spray Drift

If you choose to spray pesticides or herbicides, inform your neighbors ahead of time so that they can protect themselves from your actions, and do everything you can to avoid situations where your poisons drift or wash onto your neighbors property. Always follow label instructions and never spray on windy days. Better yet, don't poison yourself, your land, or your neighbors with toxic sprays. There are almost always organic alternatives. Take the time to educate yourself and develop nontoxic methods for maintaining your home landscape. You can contact your area's agricultural extension service office for spray protocols and organic alternatives.

Don't Dump

Don't dump your surface runoff water onto your neighbor's property. Catch, store and use this water on your own property. You can store your water runoff in your soil by mulching, building ponds or swales to catch and store water, using water gardens or stormwater retention basins to infiltrate stormwater on site, and by capturing water from the roof in tanks for later landscape watering needs.

Control Your Odors

Poorly maintained compost piles, dog runs, or chicken yards can lead to foul odors drifting onto your neighbor's land. Take responsibility for keeping your odors under control by using good composting techniques, using wood chips for animal bedding and dog runs, and maintaining straw covered yards for your backyard poultry.

Don't Invade Their Space

Don't use invasive plants like bamboo or invasive grasses or vines on your property boundaries, or they'll soon become your neighbor's...

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