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Clean, Green Lawn

The grass is growing, and that means it’s time to dust off the lawn equipment. Did you know, though, that lawn equipment significantly contributes to air pollution? Small engines in equipment such as mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, leaf blowers and more emit high levels of carbon monoxide. They also emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to ground-level ozone formation.

This spring and summer, consider alternatives to traditional lawn care in order to help keep North Texas’ ozone season mild.

Do It Yourself
Propane-powered lawn mowers have fewer carbon emissions, require less maintenance and the fuel source is mostly domestic. When looking for a propane lawn mower, one can convert an existing mower to run on propane or purchase an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) product.

Several propane conversion companies are in the market, but be sure to use a conversion that’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified. OEM products are quite common among well-known brands like Bob-Cat, Cub Cadet, Ferris, and Toro. For more information about propane, visit the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center at www.afdc.energy.gov.

Another good, clean commercial option is Dixie Chopper’s compressed natural gas (CNG) lawn mower – the Eco Eagle. This mower is powered by a 990cc Dixie Chopper EPA and Carb Certified engine, which means it’s fast, powerful and green.

An electric lawn mower is a good option for individuals looking to green their lawn chores. Electric lawn mowers cut down emissions and are less expensive to power – between $5-10 for an entire year – compared to traditional gas mowers.

As an added benefit, electric mowers are much quieter than gas mowers. Black and Decker, Yard Machines, Craftsman, Honda and Neuton all offer electric mowers.
Even if you can’t purchase or convert to an alternative fueled lawn mower, there are several things you can do to reduce emissions while maintaining your lawn. EPA offers the following tips for sustainable lawn care practices.

Buy recycled-content gardening equipment and tools, such as garden hoses made from old tires, stepping stones made from old glass bottles, or hand tools made with recycled plastic.

Keep your lawn mower and other equipment in efficient operating condition by performing regular maintenance according to the owner’s manual.

Purchase a nozzle that prevents fuel spills when refilling your lawn mower.

Use manual tools when appropriate to save fuel and protect air quality.
Avoid using a gas mower on red air quality watch or warning days.

Raise the cutting height of your lawn mower during the hot summer months to keep grass roots shaded and cooler, reducing weed growth, browning, and the need for watering.

When you mow, “grasscycle” by leaving grass clippings on your lawn or use a mulching mower. The clippings will return nutrients to the soil.

Many plants and insects can serve as non-toxic, natural deterrents to weeds and garden pests. Introduce ladybugs to eat aphids, plant marigolds to ward off beetles, and look for quick-sprouting plants to block weed growth.

Conserve water. Use barrels to collect rain water and use it to water plants. Check hoses for leaks before watering plants, and position sprinklers so they water only plants, not the sidewalk, street, or house. Also remember to water during the cooler parts of the day (early morning is best) to avoid evaporation.

Use low-maintenance turf grasses or grass/flower seed mixtures that grow slowly and require less mowing.
Hire the Experts
If you prefer to allow the professionals to maintain your yard, there are companies out there that provide completely pollution-free lawn service.

For instance, Clean Air Lawn Care is a national company with a local presence in DFW that uses rechargeable equipment to maintain lawns. They power and recharge their equipment by using solar panels mounted on their trucks, meaning that no gas is used in any of their lawn service.
Visit here to compare Clean Air Lawn Care’s service with conventional lawn services and learn more about the services and practices Clean Air Lawn Care implements:

Offers an all organic treatment program that gives homeowners a way to take chemicals off their lawns.

Runs their larger mowers on locally produced biofuels.

Recycles all grass clippings and organic matter.

Mows at a height that maximizes water conservation and nutrient uptake.
Here are some impressive accomplishments of Clean Air Lawn Care:

Since opening in 2009 in the DFW area, Clean Air Lawn Care has prevented 15,360 pounds of air pollution.

Since opening in 2009 in the DFW area, Clean Air Lawn Care has prevented 11,690 pounds of chemical fertilizer from being applied.

Across the country in the year 2010, Clean Air Lawn Care reduced 110,341 pounds of air pollution.
To learn more about Clean Air Lawn Care or to inquire about their services, visit www.cleanairlawncaredallas.com or contact Rick Hauser at rick.hauser@cleanairlawncare.com.

Though lawn equipment can contribute to five to 10 percent of air pollution, on-road vehicles are still a bigger problem. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is taking steps to try to identify and reduce high-emitting vehicles, as detailed in the article below.

Final Report Now Available on Enhanced Remote Sensing Pilot Program

Russell Garner, North Central Texas Council of Governments

NCTCOG, in partnership with Environmental Systems Products (ESP), recently completed a study on the Enhanced Remote Sensing Performance Based Pilot Program.

This program was designed to utilize remote sensing technology to: identify high-emitting on-road gasoline and diesel vehicles in the North Central Texas nonattainment area; notify owners and encourage repair or replacement of such vehicles; establish a baseline for high-emitting diesel vehicles; and support more stringent legislation related to vehicle emissions testing.
The study recommends several improvements to the state’s current inspection and maintenance program. The final report is available at www.nctcog.org/remotesensing. For more information, contact Russell Garner at 817-704-2508 or rgarner@nctcog.org.

by Air North Texas
Original Story:  Clean, Green Lawn
Source: Air North Texas

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