Since 2011 Mountain Roots has been practicing Sustainable methods in our landscape and business models. With the continued evidence of climate change – increasing temperatures and drought conditions – it is imperative that we all make small changes for future generations. Alternative transportation, using reusable bags, and investing in renewable energy are often stressed on a personal level. What does a Sustainable business in the landscape industry really promote, and how can you change your own habits when gardening?

Conserve Water

– Choose low-water plants that prefer our growing conditions.
– Create smaller grass or turf areas for your pets and children.
– Plant more beds for trees, shrubs, and low-water perennials.
– Participate in a Sustainable Maintenance Plan, which includes soil amendments with local compost, and a regular feeding schedule with the proper fertilizers to promote healthy soil and strong plants that require less water in the long run.
– Give trees, shrubs, and perennials longer soaks, less often, promoting deeper roots and the ability to dry out in between. I recommend 3-4 soaks a week for 25-30 minutes for new plants, and decreasing to 2-3 a week after established. It is inevitable that we will all be on water restrictions sooner than later. Never water anything twice a day!
– Mix perennials with your annual containers. They require less resources and can be transplanted into your gardens in fall.
– Make a rain barrel! It is now legal in Colorado to catch rain water and use differently on your property. I prefer using it for my trees and shrubs.

Avoid Chemicals and Man-Made Derivatives

– Feed plants with quality, organic or natural fertilizers derived from animals and plant products. Synthetic fertilizers are man-made compounds, typically bi-products of the petroleum industry.
o Synthetic fertilizers add nutrients for plants but affect the microorganisms in soil and are not good for long-term results
o Organic fertilizers support microorganisms promoting healthier soil over time
o All-purpose, granular, slow-release fertilizers recommended for overall health of perennials, (I like Biosol and Happy Frog All Purpose) and a Bloom-based fertilizer in for promoting bigger blooms and fruit set for vegetables (I prefer the liquid version Age Old Bloom ).
– It is abnormal for Mountain Roots to recommend using a Chemical Herbicide like Round-Up for weed treatment.
o Certain weeds (like Thistle) and situations (rocky areas with no plants, or an out-of-control area you are trying to start over) may require it, but be very careful with your applications.
o This should not be your preferred control method. Manual weeding and removing the flowering heads of seasonal noxious weeds can be successful over time.

Live in Harmony

– We are blessed with an abundance of wildlife in our area. While every property is different, I think we all have a certain critter or animal that we feel like we are battling.
– It can be trying when seeing the damage caused by a tunneling Vole or watch a Moose eat your snap peas. There is a theory that if there is nothing eating your garden, it’s not doing its job. Think of your garden as an ecosystem and try to live in harmony.
– There are ways to deter without using poison. Think about where that poison ends up in the food chain. There is also no great, easy fix for this. Try to use a combination of these methods to decrease problems.
o Use fencing and netting to deter big and small pests.
o Keep naturalized grasses trimmed and low
o Biosol Fertilizer is a pest deterrent and slow-release granular fertilizer for perennial beds (You need to use this anyway!).
o Solar-powered vibrating stakes
o Fake owls and bright metallic windmills have worked great with keeping the magpies out of my vegetable garden.
o Some areas like rock gardens and greenhouses can use mouse traps for Voles. It’s not preferred to kill, but there is rarely suffering and no poison goes into the Voles predator.
Think Locally and Support Like-Minded People and Companies
– Mountain Roots supports and sources plants from local growers and plant nurseries
o Purchase plants and varieties grown for our specific conditions with a smaller carbon footprint
o Big box stores ship in their plants and are not always specific for our area
– Grow your own Food!
o Start small with a few crops specific for our growing area. Spinach, Lettuce, Kale, Carrots, Radishes, Beets, Herbs, Potatoes, Snap Peas, Rhubarb…..just to name a few that prefer our climate!
o Don’t have the space? Rent a plot at a local community garden. Here is the link to Summit County’s
o Don’t have the time or desire? Buy a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) share for the summer. Every week you will get different produce grown right here in Frisco.
– Volunteer financially or with your time supporting a non-profit with similar interests.
Give it Another Chance!
– Check out thrift stores, Craigslist and garage sales for great garden and landscape finds. Refurbish a piece of furniture or plant an arrangement in a cute, old prop from a household item .
– Mountain Roots participates in a local compost program at the Summit County Landfill. Plant debris is hauled in trucks to compost piles and then returned to your garden as a soil amendment giving plants an extra boost of nutrients. We do not waste the time of bagging debris with plastic bags, and by using the waste in a positive way we are giving it another use instead of right into the landfill.
– Make time to divide and share plants with friends if you have an abundance of one crop and need to free up some space. Sick of all the spinach you grew? Bag some up and bring to your neighbors.
It can be overwhelming when thinking about making big changes and living a 100% pure and sustainable lifestyle. Start with small changes and modify your existing routines. The reality is that our kids and grandkids might not be able enjoy the same mountain activities that we love. Wildfire danger is imminent and already devastating communities. Ski resorts around the world are suffering from a lack of snow cover and the community that enjoys these activities needs to step up. If you haven’t already, check out the documentary titled “Save the Snow.”
Pablo Picasso said, “Some painters turn the sun into a yellow spot; other painters turn a yellow spot into the sun.” By all of us making some small changes, we can make this wonderful region even better for years to come.