Natural Lawn Care Tips that Save Money and Time
Today, we tend to have a more environmentally conscious mind-set. Lawns get a lot of flak from environmentalists about how non-environmentally friendly they are. However, this needn’t be the case. You can take good care of your lawn, without compromising the health of the environment. It is possible to have an environmentally friendly lawn that doesn't require much in the way of time or money, and still looks good. In the long run, your lawn will also be healthier.
Far too much water is allocated to watering lawns, and this comes at a high price to the environment. On top of this, a large percentage of municipal waste is made up of lawn debris. Additionally, the average suburban lawn gets more than its fair share of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides-more in fact than an equivalent piece of agricultural land. As a result, the natural balance is destroyed, as evidenced by the disappearance of earthworms, which are important for the health of the soil.
Changing over to more natural and cost effective solutions, will save you time on lawn care, and adverse risks to the environment can be minimized. As just mentioned, in order to maintain a healthier lawn, you must reduce your dependence on chemical agents. You can naturally nurture your lawn back into a naturally healthy state, which will be resistant to insect pests, disease, and unwanted weeds.
Here are some considerations for a healthier lawn:
Mow often-but not short
If you cut too short, the surface roots are exposed, and the soil dries out faster. Most grass lawns are best kept between 2.5-3.5 inches tall. Tall, dense, healthy grass is an inhospitable environment for weeds. Grass that is kept mowed very short is stressed. Choose grass that is native to your area. Unhealthy grass can easily be out-performed by weeds. Grass mowed long has the following advantages:
- Needs less water due to deeper roots and thicker growth blocking water evaporation from the soil
- Thicker turf that prevents weeds from getting established
- Grows slower so it needs to be mowed less often
- Greener, healthier, better-looking grass
If you have a serious infestation of dandelions or other weeds, try mowing every other day for one week with the mower set at its highest setting. This will kill the weeds and won't affect the health of the grass, and it's easier than trying to dig up weeds. Also, it's far better for the environment than spraying chemicals.
The pH level of your lawn’s soil should be between 6.5-7.0-slightly on the acidic side. Make sure the soil is loose and not compacted, as this will impede the flow of water, nutrients, and air. If you do have weeds, this is an indication the pH level of the soil exceeds 7.5, and so it’s time to add sulfur to lower the pH level- naturally.
Leave the clippings
When you mow, make sure the clippings are left behind on the lawn. If you leave them behind, they rapidly decompose and return their nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, to the soil. If you regularly take them away, you're hauling away all of the valuable nutrition, which you'll have to replace with expensive fertilizer.
Use a manual push-mower
Instead of using a noisy, polluting gas mower, or an electricity-sucking plug-in one, why not use a manual mower? They are lightweight and easy to use. Many people are surprised to discover that a lightweight manual mower requires less physical effort to use than a heavy gas-powered mower. Make sure that the blades are kept sharp, if not, the grass tips will be browned and ragged. This indicates the blades are dull!
Water adequately-but not often
Watering regularly, not only encourages weeds to grow, but it also helps the grass to create "thatch" instead of roots. Thatch grows on the surface of the dirt and rapidly turns brown in hot weather. Adequate watering encourages the grass to develop deeper roots. As a result, your lawn is hardier and more resistant to drought. An inch of water per week should be sufficient. Infrequently watered, deeply-rooted grass, stays greener longer in hot weather. Instead of watering on a schedule, water only when the grass starts to curl. Curling occurs before it starts to turn brown. Your ‘neglected’ lawn will be thick, green, and weed-free. Water as early in the day so as to avoid excess evaporation.
Grass needs a lot of nitrogen to grow well. Try spreading a fairly thick layer of rich compost over it twice a year-in the spring and fall. Skip the artificial fertilizers- they don't work nearly as well as a rich compost. Make your own compost from your kitchen waste.
Surprisingly, the best way to develop a healthy lawn, is one which requires little maintenance. A thick, healthy, green lawn is also environmentally friendly. Please check for a more comprehensive array of helpful and natural lawn care tips from our Consumers’ Choice Award professionals. Gibbs Landscape Company - Bello Giardino Landscaping – Wimberg Landscaping
Photo: Courtesy of Bello Giardino
Photo: Courtesy of Wimberg Landscaping