Natural Yard Care

Manage Weeds Naturally

You can grow a healthy, attractive landscape without using chemical weed killers. Herbicides (weed killers) can damage soil and plant health, poison pollinators and other wildlife, and harm our pets, kids and neighbors. Rainwater runoff carries these harmful chemicals through storm drains into local creeks harming salmon and other aquatic life. We can protect the health of families, wildlife and waterways by following these five steps of natural weed management:

  1. Accept a few weeds.
  2. Identify your problem weeds before you act.
  3. Prevent weeds from spreading.
  4. Control weeds manually.
  5. Only use chemical herbicides as a last resort.

Visit our Manage Weeds Naturally page to learn more.

Choose Safe Yard Products

As much as possible, use natural yard care solutions instead of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Visit Grow Smart Grow Safe for simple steps to care for your yard naturally. If using a pesticide or fertilizer, choose a product that is safer for people, pets, and wildlife. Grow Smart Grow Safe ranks the safety of many pesticide products. You can search the database by product, brand name, or active ingredient and follow the active ingredient link to view scientific data used to rank the product.  Grow Smart Grow Safe also has information on fertilizers and soil amendments.  

The following garden stores in Bellingham participate in our Safe Yard Products program and can direct customers to pesticides with the highest safety ranking based on the Grow Smart Grow Safe database. 

Participating stores promoting safe yard products:

Ace Hardware                       356 36th St
DeWilde’s Nursery                3410 Northwest Ave
Garden Spot Nursery           900 Alabama St
Hardware Sales                    2034 James St
Kmart                                     1001 E Sunset Dr
My Garden Nursery              929 E Bakerview Rd
Whatcom Farmers Co-op    3500 Meridian St

If your store would like to participate, please contact stormwater@cob.org or (360) 778-7800.

Natural Lawn Care

Higher grass absorbs more water, reducing runoff. Use a mulch mower, if possible, to provide nutrients for your lawn and retain more water. Sweep lawn trimmings away from the street and sidewalk. Lawn trimmings left on pavement can wash into storm drains, clogging the stormwater system and adding excess nutrients to our waterways.

Follow these 6 steps for a healthy, easy-care lawn:

  1. Mow higher, mow regularly, and leave the clippings on the lawn (“grasscycle”).
  2. If needed, fertilize moderately in September or May with a “natural organic” or “slow-release” fertilizer.
  3. Water deeply, but less frequently. Or let lawns go dormant in summer.
  4. Improve poor lawns with aeration, overseeding, and compost topdressing.
  5. Avoid using “weed & feed” and other pesticides – use less-toxic alternatives.
  6. Consider alternatives to lawns in shady areas, on 6 slopes, and near waterways.

Find more details in this helpful Natural Lawn Care guide (PDF).

Watch these six, short, easy-to-understand Natural Lawn Care videos (YouTube).

Reduce Erosion​

Place wood chips or mulch over soil to reduce erosion. Use a barrier such as bricks or wood to contain soil in the garden.

Conserve Water

Lake Whatcom

As the primary source of drinking water for Whatcom County, Lake Whatcom and its surrounding watershed require a high level of protection. For more information about recommended yard care practices in the Lake Whatcom watershed visit our Lake Whatcom-friendly Lawns and Gardens page.

More Information

Resources

We are adjusting some City operations due to the current COVID-19 surge, prioritizing essential services and the safety of employees and the public.