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:
- Accept a few weeds.
- Identify your problem weeds before you act.
- Prevent weeds from spreading.
- Control weeds manually.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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:
- Mow higher, mow regularly, and leave the clippings on the lawn (“grasscycle”).
- If needed, fertilize moderately in September or May with a “natural organic” or “slow-release” fertilizer.
- Water deeply, but less frequently. Or let lawns go dormant in summer.
- Improve poor lawns with aeration, overseeding, and compost topdressing.
- Avoid using “weed & feed” and other pesticides – use less-toxic alternatives.
- 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).
Place wood chips or mulch over soil to reduce erosion. Use a barrier such as bricks or wood to contain soil in the garden.
- Go Gold and let your grass go dormant during the summer.
- Use rain barrels (PDF) for watering lawns and gardens.
- Plant native plants (PDF) to reduce the need for water.
- Avoid runoff during watering.
- Explore more water conservation methods.
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.
- Western Washington Natural Yard Care
- WSU Extension: Organic Gardening
- Native Plant Society: Native Plants for Western Washington
- King County Native Plant Guide