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Organic Land Care BMPs
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Organic Land Care

Best Management Practices Manual for Landscapers & Land Managers

Credits: Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Organic Land Care is a holistic approach to landscaping that improves the natural resources of a site by fostering cycling of resources, promoting ecological balance, and conserving biodiversity.

The question of what "organic" actually means can lead to a lot of confusion. Organic land care is not simply about the type of fertilizer or pesticide used on a home landscape. Rather, organic land care is a holistic approach to landscaping that restores and enhances biological cycles involving soil microorganisms, plants, and animals.

The term "organic" as it applies to landscaping means landscaping without the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or synthetic soil amendments.

The federal government through the National Organic Program (NOP) developed national organic standards for agriculture and a certification program identified by the "USDA Organic" symbol, which certifies that agricultural products meet federal organic standards.

However, there are no federal standards for organic land care. In order to educate and assist land care practitioners in determining what is acceptable under an organic program, Rutgers Cooperative Extension has developed an Organic Land Care Certificate Program. The program focuses on providing education on organic practices for promoting healthy soil, enhancing biodiversity, and reducing polluted runoff from managed landscapes.

In an organic land care program, an integrated system of pest and disease management is utilized with products approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). The goal is to decrease or eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and synthetic soil amendments. This document, written by Amy Rowe and Michele Bakacs and published by Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension, is meant to be a field guide with basic information about background theory for many of the recommendations.

Download the free 27 page PDF file Organic Land Care Best Management Practices Manual

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