Sustainable Landscapes

low maintenance lawn-landscape bed-salsedoDr. Carl Salsedo, UConn Extension Educator for Sustainable and Environmental Horticulture has been encouraging Connecticut residents to practice sustainable landscapes for years. Salsedo encourages everyone to practice sustainable landscaping as Connecticut residents look towards spring and warmer weather.


“I’ve been gardening sustainably at home in Burlington since before it was trendy,” Salsedo notes. “I use native plants and reduce the maintenance and inputs including fertilizer and water. I had to adapt some of my plant choices to the garden site and different microclimates. My plants are all boilerplate – low maintenance conifers, perennials and broadleaf plants that are easy to grow and maintain.


Can you give some examples of native plants from your garden or that people should try?

Shrubs such as northern bayberry (Morella pensylvanica), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) require very little care.


Sustainability has an array of definitions. Salsedo has five main principles for maintaining a sustainable landscape:


– Develop a sustainable lawn that doesn’t rely on chemicals and nutritional additives. Weeds are okay.

– Use primarily native plants: alternatives to traditional choices.

– Foster a healthy environment utilizing drought tolerant and low maintenance grasses.

– A bio-diverse garden and landscape supports a wide variety of life.

– Recycle your leaves and grass clippings, use them as mulch or compost them in your gardens.


leaves as mulch-Salsedo“If you do only one thing at home, recycle your leaves and grass clippings,” Salsedo states. “I use as much as 100 yards of fallen leaves as mulch in my gardens.” Some of these leaves come from a local landscaper who augments my supply.


“Through my work with UConn Extension, we have many resources available for people interested in sustainable practices in suburban landscapes,” Salsedo adds. He teaches the class, Fundamentals of Horticulture 1100 at the UConn Greater Hartford Campus. Salsedo also has a series on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) called Gardening with Nature and a companion website at keyword gardening. This past year CPTV and the Connecticut Public Broadcasting media lab created an interactive i-book for the Gardening with Natureseries that can be accessed at: ( 


What other resources are available or other upcoming programs are you working on?

I have fact sheets I’ve written and a lot of information is on the CPTV website. I give a lot of talks and am a member of the UConn Extension Connecticut School IPM Coalition team that works on sustainability issues on K-8 school grounds.


For more information about Sustainable Landscapes please contact Dr. Carl Salsedo at 860-570-9060 or