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Mindful Lawn Care

May 15, 2017

 

If you're like me, lawn care is at the top of the to do list this time of year.

I was tempted to grab a bag of heavily marketed lawn product, with the promise turning my spotty, grub infested, patch of crab grass into an emerald carpet.  However, I paused and contemplated: how could I manage my lawn this year with a kinder, gentler impact on the earth?

 

Here are a few tips that I dug up!

 

Conserve water

 

Many communities still have water bans in place from last year's draught. Water is increasingly becoming a precious resource in need of conservation.

  1. Try a drought resistant seed that requires less water for a new or replacement lawn.

  2. A rain gage lets you know how much water your lawn is getting by Mother Nature. Typical lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. 

  3. Water the lawn early in the morning, or after the sun begins to set, to minimize evaporation.

  4. Water more deeply and less frequently.

  5. Adjusting the mower to a higher setting to protect the grass from drying out.

  6. Mow frequently and let short grass clippings stay on the ground.  The clippings act as mulch and help keep moisture in the soil. Clippings also provide nutrients.

 

Fertilizing

 

Fertilizers, synthetic or organic, can run off into the water ways and cause algae blooms. Some local swimming areas, at least where I live, have been closed because of the health dangers to swimmers from algae blooms. 

  1. A soil testing kit, available at most hardware stores, will let you know if you need to fertilize.

  2. Fertilize less frequently and avoid scheduled fertilizing.

  3. Use compost* to give your lawn a nutrient boost. 

 

Compost

 

*The environmental impact of composting is enormous. 

 

According to the EPA composting kept; “87.2 million tons of material from being disposed in 2013, up from 15 million tons in 1980. This prevented the release of approximately 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the air in 2013—equivalent to taking over 39 million cars off the road for a year.”   Wow!

 

Adding compost to your lawn also helps keep the moisture in.

 

Pesticides and Herbicides

 

  1. Use household vinegar with water and dish soap to kill weeds.  There are many variations on this mix, but; the one that seems to work is 5 parts vinegar, 3 parts water, and 1-part dish soap.  Apply with typical garden sprayer.

  2. To kill off grubs; add nematodes, a natural microscopic worm that kills grubs! I haven’t tried this yet, but; a friend swears by it.  Nematodes are readily available just search online.

  3. Bacillus popilliae a.k.a. milky spore is also a natural pesticide for grubs.  Be careful though, there are brands out there that are not the natural variety.  Look for the active ingredients.

I bet you have many ideas and suggestions to maintaining an earth friendly lawn.  Please share them.