Every property has the potential to soak up stormwater and serve as a carbon sink for greenhouse gas emissions, while also providing habitat for birds and other wildlife.

You can help by following sustainable landscaping practices, shifting away from gas-powered equipment, and educating your customers.

Incorporate sustainable landscaping.

Sustainable land care involves more than just ending the use of synthetic pesticides or herbicides. With sustainable landscaping, the soil, plants, and animals actually sustain each other.

Convert grass to meadow.

Consider areas that could be planted with meadow grasses to lower the time and cost of mowing.

Keep it natural.

Encourage your clients to use natural organic fertilizers, compost, shredded leaves, and grass clippings to provide a lawn’s nutrients.

Strengthen the soil.

To build healthy soil, increase its organic matter, restore proper pH, and reduce the application of fungicides and acidic fertilizers.

Go native.

Incorporate a diversity of native plants and eliminate invasive or exotic species. To prevent pest destruction, avoid over-planting a single plant species. Find local native plant sales.

Let it rain.

Apply water infrequently and allow the soil to dry in between. Native plants naturally endure droughts. Consider an irrigation audit to ensure best practices are being followed.

For grassy areas, follow these tips:

Seed and mow correctly.

Use the correct seed for the conditions. Mow grass with a sharp blade and as high as possible (3-4”). Taller grass helps keep out unwanted plants. Keep shredded grass clippings on your lawn.


Frequent seeding is an effective tactic to prevent weeds. Late summer and autumn is the best time to aerate, apply compost, and seed.

Deal with weeds.

Keep turf dense to prevent weeds. Hand pull weeds when they are young and use organic herbicides sparingly as a spot treatment.

Manage pests.

Prevention is the best strategy. Proper soil health, as well as the correct seeds and mowing techniques, will help prevent pests. Organic pesticides are used only as a last resort.

Leave the leaves.

Mulch leaves back into the lawn to nourish the soil and save on the cost of fertilizers. Learn more.

Shift away from gas-powered lawn equipment.

There’s a growing awareness of the health implications and nuisance of leaf blowers and lawnmowers, which is why gas-powered leaf blowers are not permitted from May 16 through September 30 in Princeton.

Research options for electric equipment, so you can meet your customer’s requests.

Battery-powered machines sharply reduce air pollution and are significantly quieter than gas-powered versions. Consider adding electric equipment to your fleet (and spreading the word about this great, clean air service). The good news is that prices for commercial electric mowers models are beginning to drop.

Ensure that any leaf blowers or mowers follow the rules stated in Princeton’s noise ordinance.

When possible, use rakes and brooms to move leaves around. This is especially true at the beginning or end of the season when there are relatively few leaves to collect.

Educate your clients about these ideas.

Princeton is going green. Shifting landscaping practices in a green direction will be good for business.

Plant more trees.

They provide home and business owners with shade, soak up stormwater and are a carbon sink, to name a few of the benefits. Encourage your clients to plant diverse species of trees to protect against blights. Learn more.

Install green infrastructure.

Consider incorporating a rain garden or rain barrels. The more stormwater properties soak up, the less chance of water causing issues elsewhere. Learn more.

For more ideas.

Encourage homeowners to visit our yard suggestions and businesses to visit our business landscaping advice.

Be sure to get credit (and free promotion) for your actions.

Register with Princeton.

Contact the Public Works department to register and get added to the list of registered landscapers. Be sure to indicate if you are willing to rake leaves, use a quieter leaf blower, or have electric equipment.

Once registered, fill out our Sustainable Landscapers form to be featured on our website and promoted to the community.

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Confused? Get free assistance.

The Small Business Development Center at TCNJ is able to provide support to landscape businesses, including free one-on-one sessions with a consultant for advice on meeting municipal regulations regarding insurance, managing their businesses, and obtaining low-interest loans for purchasing new equipment. Consultations are available in both English and Spanish. Visit their site for more information.

Join the NJ Sustainable Business Registry.

The Sustainable Business Registry helps businesses achieve greater sustainability goals by providing a roadmap and resources.  Register your landscaping business and join the others on the Registry.

Let’s work on a solution to remove air and noise pollution.

According to one study, nearly 30 million tons of pollutants were emitted by gas-powered lawn and garden equipment in a single year.

One analysis found that a commercial gas-powered leaf blower emits the same pollutants as a Toyota Camry on an 1100-mile drive.

A single gas-powered leaf blower can create 90 or more decibels of noise, which has serious hearing implications for operators, as well as surrounding neighbors.

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