Lawn and Garden

Visit the links below to review landscaping, lawn care, mosquito elimination, and pest control techniques that will help prevent storm water pollution in our community.

Why Yard Waste Can Cause Storm Water Problems

Lawn care, landscaping, and pest control practices can be major contributors to storm water pollution, and can also cause local drainage and flooding problems. Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides can run off your lawn into the storm sewer.  Storm water then flows to our local streams where pollutants can harm or kill aquatic life.

Ohio EPA considers nutrients, such as those contained in fertilizers, as the most significant pollutant in Clermont County streams, and if we as residents don’t take steps to control potential pollutants at the source, there is the potential that Ohio EPA could require some very expensive programs and treatment systems to be implemented.

Leaves, grass clippings, and tree trimmings that are swept or blown into open ditches or storm sewer drains clog storm water grates and increase the risk of flooding the streets.  Plus, rain water can leach nutrients and other chemicals from yard waste into our local streams.  To avoid these problems, yard waste should never be placed in open ditches, street gutters or other areas that convey concentrated storm water runoff.

Landscaping Techniques to Stop Storm Water Pollution
Use the following suggestions to prevent storm water pollution while landscaping.

    • Install a rain garden.  Rain gardens look like any other flower garden, but they are built in a shallow depression that is designed to collect rain water and slowly filter it into the ground over a period of a day or two. Rain gardens are designed to be completely dry after a maximum of two days, so standing water (and mosquitoes) are not a problem. To learn more, check out the Clermont Rain Garden Central web site
    • Buy and install rain barrels. These help reduce runoff and collect rain water for use during dry periods.  Click here to find local rain barrel vendors.
    • Purchase only the necessary amount of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.  Choose the most effective, but least toxic products.  Buy nontoxic, biodegradable, and recyclable products when possible.
    • ALWAYS follow product label directions.  Use only the amount directed.  More is not always better.
    • Immediately clean up spills.
    • Prevent erosion by planting fast growing, native annual and perennial grasses. These grasses will help to prevent erosion and look beautiful.
    • Store materials under tarps to protect them from wind and rain and prevent runoff.
    • Use temporary dams/ditches to divert runoff away from storm drains and avoid erosion.
    • Schedule landscaping projects for dry weather.
    • Review the EPA water efficient landscaping guide book

Lawn Care Techniques to Stop Storm Water Pollution
Use the following techniques to dispose of yard wastes, prevent pond pollution, and conduct soil testing.  Also, check out our environmentally-friendly lawn care brochure.

    • Use a mulching lawnmower.
    • Don’t over water your lawn.  Excess water can result in nutrients, fertilizers and pesticides washing into the storm drain.
    • Buy a rain barrel.  Collect the rain water and use it during dry periods.  For more information, check out www.rainbarrelguide.com.
    • Conserve water by using micro-spray systems and soaker hoses that can be found at many stores in the lawn care department.
    • Don’t use fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides near storm sewer drains, ditches, and streams.
    • Never use excessive amounts of fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.  Follow application directions.
    • Don’t fertilize if rain is likely.
    • Store pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in a covered area to prevent runoff.
    • Try to use compost or non-toxic fertilizers. Review organic fertilizing alternatives.
    • Use pond treatments such as copper sulfate or other algal controls sparingly and avoid use altogether during rainy periods.
    • Have your soils tested to avoid over applying fertilizers.  The Ohio State University Agricultural Extension Service conducts soil testing in Clermont County. They can be reached at (513) 732-7070, or at cler@osu.edu.
      Learn how to test your own soils at the Lamotte web site.

Disposing of Yard Waste
For Clermont County residents looking to dispose of yard waste, including leaves, grass clippings, brush, and tree branches, several options are available. Some cities and villages within the county, including Milford and Williamsburg, allow residents to place yard waste along the sides of the street for later pick-up by the city/village. Some townships, including Miami and Union Townships, offer vouchers for free yard waste disposal.  If you are not a resident of these areas, Clermont County residents can bring their yard waste to one of two locations:

For Clermont County residents looking to dispose of yard waste, including leaves, grass clippings, brush, and tree branches, several options are available. Some cities and villages within the county, including , Batavia, and Williamsburg, allow residents to place yard waste along the sides of the street for later pick-up by the city/village. If you are not a resident of these areas, Clermont County residents can bring their yard waste to one of two locations:

Note that there are disposal fees depending upon the size of the load.  Check the above web sites or call ahead for specific fees.

Composting your yard waste is another option. Composting yard, garden, and vegetable food waste at home saves transportation and disposal costs and provides an environmentally-sound way to manage waste. To learn more about home composting or to receive a free home composting guide, send an e-mail to oeq@clermontcountyohio.gov or call the Solid Waste District at (513) 732-7745.

Although not recommended, yard waste can be co-mingled with household waste in some parts of the county and will be picked up with your regular waste collection. Some villages may have contracts with a waste hauler that specifically prohibit the disposal of yard waste with household waste. Before placing yard waste out with your weekly garbage, call your village or township to see if this practice is permitted.

Both CSI and Rumpke require that all branches be cut shorter than four feet in length and tied in bundles with string or twine prior to putting them out for pick-up. All bags filled with yard waste or mixed trash must weigh less than 75 pounds.

Mosquito Elimination
Mosquitoes are frustrating and hazardous to your health. They carry such diseases as encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. Mosquitoes are drawn to standing water because they need water to complete their developmental cycle. Eliminating standing water will greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes near your home.

Listed below are suggestions to remove standing water:

    • Empty and turn over any containers such as bottles or cans that can hold water.
    • Empty and clean wading pools twice a week.
    • Change water in outside vases twice a week.
    • Change the water in birdbaths twice a week.
    • Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating fish.
    • Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks.
    • Repair leaky faucets outdoors.
    • Clean clogged roof gutters and drain flat roofs.
    • Fill holes in trees with sand.
    • Recycle old tires or store them indoors.

Pest Control Techniques to Stop Storm Water Pollution
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common sense approach to long-term pest control problems. IPM emphasizes using physical and biological controls to solve pest problems. Chemical pest control methods are only used if the physical and biological controls fail. Besides being the most expensive, the chemical pest control method requires routine applications and is only a temporary fix to your pest problems.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common sense approach to long-term pest control problems. IPM emphasizes using physical and biological controls to solve pest problems. Chemical pest control methods are only used if the physical and biological controls fail. Besides being the most expensive, the chemical pest control method requires routine applications and is only a temporary fix to your pest problems.For further information on pest control, review IPM at U.S. EPA’s Website.

Disposing of Pesticide Bottles

    • Add water to the empty pesticide container and spray out the contents to rinse.
    • Do not rinse bottles over storm sewer drains because the residue inside the bottle is still concentrated and toxic to other organisms.
    • Please recycle all appropriate bottles.

Listed below are some pest control techniques that reduce the risk of storm water pollution.

Applying Physical Controls

    • Caulking holes to keep pests out of your home
    • Weeding to prevent seed pollination
    • Creating barriers to deter animals
    • Setting traps to deter insects and animals

Applying Biological Controls

    • Introducing predatory insects. For example, green lacewings eat aphids.
    • Introducing bacterial insecticides. For example, Bacillus thuringiensis kills caterpillars.

Applying Low-Toxin Chemical Controls
Use these techniques only when physical and biological controls fail:

    • Pyrethrin-based insecticides
    • Horticultural oils
    • Boric acid powder
    • Insecticidal soaps
    • Dehydrating dusts such as silica gel

Using Safe Substitutes for Specific Insects
For ants:
Place boric acid dust or hydramethylnon baits in problem areas such as entry points. Be sure the compounds are inaccessible to children and pets, as the compounds contain toxic materials.

For roaches: Apply boric acid dust to entry points such as cracks. Place bay leaves on pantry shelves.

For caterpillars: Apply products containing Bacillus thuringiensis to leaves. Caterpillars will eat the leaves, thus ingesting the product.

For garden aphids and mites: Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid soap, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of water. Transfer to a sprayer for application. Do not spray the mix on vegetable plants in the cabbage family.

Reading Pesticide Labels to Ensure Proper Usage
Read the labels on the pesticide bottles. In their enthusiasm to control pest problems, many people use pesticides at over 20 times the limit stated on the bottle. Also, read the insect list on the label to be sure that you are using pesticides that are specifically designed to control your pest problem. Approximately 90% of the insects on your lawn and garden are not harmful and actually help with natural pest regulation.