10 Steps to Really “Green” Grass
It’s the lawn care question many people are now asking: how can you make your lawn greener without using those dreaded pesticides? A non-toxic, yet green lawn may be easier and less labor-intensive than you think. This top ten list compiled from www.saferlawns.org and www.organiclawncaretips.com can give you a head-start on an eco-friendly lawn.
1. Conduct a soil test on your lawn. Soil testing kits are available at your local hardware/gardening stores or the UW-Extension office. Review the results of the soil test and then implement your fertilizing plan accordingly.
2. Grow the correct grass for your specific climate/region of the country. Contact a grass system company in your area to discover the type of grass that grows best in your area. Consider soil type, sunlight availability, and lawn uses.
3. Water in the morning. This allows the grass to dry throughout the day. Watering deeply and infrequently allows the grass to grow further in the ground. Avoid watering during the hours of 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
4. Your lawn is soil and is alive. Nurture this soil so it can continue to thrive. Only mow when the lawn is dry, and mow leaves along with the grass so they can decompose together. Keep clippings for future composting, and use a combination of liquid and dry compost on your lawn. This material adds beneficial microorganisms to the soil.
5. Do not mow your lawn lower than 2.5 inches. Grass clippings that are recycled on the lawn can provide approximately half of the lawn’s fertilizing needs for the season. Higher mowing also helps maintain the lawn’s moisture.
6. Search for fertilizers that contain the proper ingredients. Purchase natural fertilizers that are produced from once-alive plants and animals, rather than fertilizers created in a laboratory.
7. Listen to the message your weeds are telling you. Weeds only appear when the lawn system is out-of-balance. Specific weeds may sprout up as a direct result of another problem in your lawn.
8. Watch for an overabundance of insects. Synthetic fertilizers tend to attract predatory insects. If you have too many bugs, look to your lawn for reasons.
9. Overseed your lawn in the spring and fall to replenish grass. Mowed lawns do not have a chance to reproduce grass seeds. Overseeding each spring and fall allows young plants to sprout where needed in your lawn and crowds out competing weeds.
10. Hold your lawn-care service provider accountable. If you use a service for lawn care, ask them what chemicals they’re using. Many companies are very accommodating if you request an environmentally friendly mixture. If not, it may be time to find a new company.
Although having an organic and eco-friendly lawn may cost a bit more upfront, it will save money in the long run. Healthy and natural lawns will require less mowing, less watering, and will have fewer insects and weeds. By utilizing eco-friendly products and practices, a green and healthy lawn may be just around the corner!