Phipps Continues Commitment to Sustainability With Innovative Lawn Care Practices
Sep 19
2018

Phipps Continues Commitment to Sustainability With Innovative Lawn Care Practices

By Kaitlyn Clem

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, long-recognized for its commitment to advancing green innovation and sustainable business practices, has taken another impactful step towards protecting and preserving the environment with the introduction of four new electric lawnmowers into the Conservatory’s already innovative lawn maintenance plan. The mowers, three push-operated and one standing, were sourced from Greenworks and Mean Green Mowers respectively, and all operate via energy efficient batteries which are recharged by renewable energy purchased or generated on site. For Phipps, this alternative power source has effectively eliminated the risk of toxic carbon dioxide emissions posed by the use of traditional gasoline powered mowers.

Conventional gas-powered mowers, blowers and trimmers are known to emit high levels of toxic and carcinogenic pollutants, causing health risks for workers and the public. In addition to being environmentally-friendly, Phipps' mowers boast a number of other benefits, including being lighter weight and thus better maneuverable than traditional mowers, running quietly, and of course lacking that potent exhaust smell. On their first day in use, Phipps’ Outdoor Display Foreman Claire Dusak remarked that the mowers worked beautifully, with all of the efficiency and precision of a gasoline powered lawnmower without any of the noted drawbacks. Electric mowers are distinguished by their longevity and Phipps’ new fleet is sure to be an integral part of not only keeping the Conservatory looking beautiful on the outside for years to come, but also in supporting the greater picture of its ongoing work in sustainable lawn care. To supplement the mowers, Phipps is also utilizing battery powered blowers and trimmers.

Though they may look fairly ordinary from Schenley Drive, the lawns at Phipps are actually quite unique. All organically maintained, the lawns at the Conservatory are comprised of a special organic grass-seed mix for deeper and stronger root growth and better water retention, as well as being specifically formulated to thrive in Pittsburgh weather and soil. This allows Conservatory staff to avoid manually watering the lawns, as the grass is apt to store naturally occurring rainwater, reducing the detrimental effect that polluted surface runoff water has on our local storm water system. Phipps also does not chemically weed its lawns, and with the use of natural grass seed, promotes the healthy growth of other native plants such as clover. With a top fertilizer of screened compost and regular mowing up to a height of four inches to finish things off, the unassuming lawns and the tools being used to maintain them at Phipps are rather remarkable, keeping Pittsburgh’s glasshouse gem looking beautiful from the outside in.


Comments

Really appreciated this information. Want to learn where to buy organic grass seed suited to Pgh. Thanks

By Cynthia I Jackson on Oct 4, 2018

Hi, Cynthia! We recommend checking out our Smart Seed Shopping Guide. Lots of good vendors there with a wide selection: https://www.phipps.conservatory.org/green-innovation/at-home/greener-gardening-tips/smart-seed-shopping

By Phipps Conservatory on Oct 5, 2018