Green Spot

Resource Guide

Composting

  1. Keeping Rats out of your Compost- In general, rats are looking for two basic things: food and shelter. In some cases, a compost pile ends up being both, and you can end up with a rat problem. Thankfully, with proper composting techniques and rodent proofing, there are several simple ways to both prevent rats from getting into your compost pile. Below are some helpful tips for keeping the pesky rodents away from your compost.
  2. Commercial composting facilities: Yard waste can be disposed of in several ways locally. The easiest way is to contact the community in which you live and find out the procedures for curbside yard waste disposal. However residents of Franklin County and pre-approved areas can take their yard waste to multiple locations throughout Franklin County.
  3. City Folk's Farm Shop: Created to connect city-dwellers to goods, services, information and other people who are interested in city farming.

Invasive Species

  1. Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Mission Statement: To ensure a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.
  2. Ohio Invasive Plants Council: The Ohio Invasive Plants Council is a coalition of agencies, organizations, and individuals throughout Ohio concerned about the introduction, spread, and control of invasive, non-native plants in Ohio's natural habitats
  3. Midwest Invasive Plants Network: Mission Statement: Our mission is to reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest.

We refer to the Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC), the Ohio Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Midwest Invasive Plants Council (MIPC) for plants not eligible for reimbursement. For a comprehensive reference list or more information, please contact us directly or you can view our non-native, invasive species listsive species list for purchased that will not be reimbursed.

Mosquito Alert!

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed and can breed in as little as 7 to 10 days. Rain barrels not properly installed or with open lids, can provide the perfect environment for them. Recommendations for reducing breeding sites include eliminating or emptying artificial water collection containers described as prime breeding spots for the mosquito species.

Be sure that you are not breeding mosquitos in your rain barrel by following these suggestions:

  • Install rain barrels with a professional rain barrel diverter kit, which will keep the openings between the lid and the barrel sealed and keep your rain barrel from overflowing.
  • Empty barrels on a regular basis after and/or before a rainfall to control mosquito breeding cycles.
  • Use Mosquito larvicide tablets such as Mosquito Dunks ® inside barrels as needed to assure the control of breeding and development.
  • Clean all gutters and downspouts. Leaves, twigs, seeds, and other organic matter will create a water dam in which mosquito larvae can grow.
  • Perform regular inspections of your system to make sure that there are no cracks or leaks, and that all fittings and seals around the valves are intact.
By taking these precautions, your properly protected rain barrels can actually help prevent unwanted mosquito breeding by eliminating the standing water which results from a heavy rainfall.

Have a mosquito problem? Request service from Franklin County Public Health by calling (614) 525-BITE (leave a message) or complete an online request.

Native Plants & Trees

Many of the following websites have or will generate native plant lists.
  1. Plant Native: PlantNative is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices.
  2. Wild Ones: Wild Ones strives to become a widely recognized voice for native plants and the sustainable landscaping movement, promoting increased use of native plantings that create living landscapes through grassroots efforts by example, education, marketing, and personalized support. Wild Ones has several local chapters: see Columbus, Ohio chapter
  3. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.
  4. Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Go Native- ODNR's mission statement is to ensure a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.
  5. Midwest Native Plant Society: A non-profit organization of amateur and professional naturalists, botanists, teachers, researchers, gardeners, birders, photographers and others who share a deep appreciate for our native flora and fauna.
See more native plant resources in documents below.

Do you qualify for the $100 tree rebate? Select the right tree from the approved Branch Out Columbus tree list.

Rain Barrels

Homeowners, renters, and building managers can reduce stormwater runoff and promote infiltration by installing a rain barrel. Rain barrels collect and store water that runs off your roof and would normally be directed to the street and closest storm drain inlet.

Not sure how to install a rain barrel? Watch this installation tutorial video from the makers of the EarthMinded RainStation or contact Rain Brothers, LLC., a local one-stop shop for everything rainwater.

Rain Gardens

  1. Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative: The Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative (CORGI) is a collaborative effort to promote the benefits of rain gardens for community beautification and clean water. CORGI can provide you with education and technical assistance to help with rain garden assessment, design, and planting plans. Assistance is available for residents, community organizations, municipalities, and businesses.

Soil Testing

  1. Soil Testing Available at Franklin Co. Extension Office: Testing available for gardens, home lawns, farm fields, and commercial horticulture operations at $11/sample. Call 613-866-6900 for more information.

Stormwater Pollution

  1. PUP Campaign (Pick Up Poop): A City of Columbus program, “PUP” stands for Pick Up Poop. All dog owners can "doo" the right thing and scoop poop when walking and in your own backyard. Our goal is clean water and PUPing is our law.
  2. EPA's "After the Storm": Information for the homeowner or municipal employee on stormwater runoff and solutions.
  3. Blueprint Columbus: Neighborhood projects will focus on relining sanitary pipes and green infrastructure to prevent the infiltration of stormwater, a major cause of sewer overflows.

Sustaining Wildlife

  1. Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens: A network of sites created by conservation biologist Carole Sevilla Brown.
  2. National Wildlife Federation: National Wildlife Federation is a voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat and inspiring the future generation of conservationists. 
  3. Audubon Ohio Chapter: The mission of Audubon Ohio is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats in Ohio by promoting conservation and biodiversity through education and advocacy
  4. Bringing Nature Home- Doug Tallamy: Why should you consider planting native?
  5. Native Plants and Ecosystem Services- Michigan State University: Natives help attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Related Documents

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Community Backyards Non-Native, Invasive Species List
Species on this list will NOT be reimbursed through the Community Backyards rebate program.

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Gardening for Life by Doug Tallamy
"Chances are, you have never thought of your garden - indeed, of all of the space on your land - as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the United States."

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas & Preserves
Ohio’s Most Invasive Plants: This brochure describes 10 of the most invasive non-native plant species in Ohio with information about their appearance, habitat, possible controls, and native species which can be used as alternatives in garden or wildlife plantings.

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Franklin Co. Stormwater Drainage Manual- Native Plants for Best Management Practices
Features a comprehensive list of Ohio-natives, including those commonly used for stormwater applications