Maintaining a lush, green lawn is a high priority for many homeowners. It isn’t always an easy task though to foster a vibrantly-green, weed-free lawn; it requires a multifaceted management approach.
As homeowners are becoming more aware of their lawn-care practices they are opting for more eco-friendly methods that are environmentally sustainable.
The following 7 eco-friendly lawn care tips will foster a strong, healthy lawn while promoting sustainability.
Use an Organic Fertilizer such as Milorganite
As your grass grows it constantly pulls nutrients out of the soil. These nutrients play crucial roles in the basic functions that occur within the plant, without them, plants can’t grow. To keep your grass adequately fed it’s necessary to add these nutrients back to the soil in the form of fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers are an eco-friendly way to add nutrients to your turf. Unlike conventional fertilizers, organic products are made entirely from naturally-occurring ingredients.
Milorganite – an organic fertilizer containing biosolids – is one of the most commonly used organic products for lawns. It contains 4% iron to promote green grass. The non-burning formula means it doesn’t need to be watered in like other fertilizers and can be applied virtually year-round.
Water Deeply, not Often
Regardless of the type of grass you are growing, most lawns need an average total of 1-1.5” of water a week. In some areas this comes completely through rainfall, in others, it has to be applied using a sprinkler or irrigation system.
To build a strong, healthy root system, space watering as far apart as possible. It is best to apply a larger amount of water less often. This encourages the root systems to grow deeper, increasing the drought tolerance of the lawn.
Mulch Grass Clippings
Homeowners and professional lawn care companies often bag grass clippings when they mow to achieve a tidy, clean look but mulching grass clippings and leaving them behind is advantageous for your lawn.
As the grass clippings break down they release nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium into the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers.
Mulching blades have more curves and cutting edges that regular mower blades. They cut the grass, and then spin it back into the mower deck where it is cut several more times before the small pieces fall back to the lawn.
Make Your Own Weed Killer
A healthy thick lawn is the best defense against pesky weeds, keeping them from even emerging. If they do manage to sneak into your turf you can make your own environmentally-friendly weed killer instead of turning to conventional herbicides.
Common household ingredients such as vinegar, salt, and dish soap can be mixed in different proportions (the internet is full of “recipes” for homemade weed killer) to create a human and pet-friendly weed killer. These weed killers work best when applied to weeds on a hot, sunny day. They work by drying out the plant.
Care needs to be taken when applying these homemade recipes. Unlike commercial herbicides that selectively kill weeds and leave the grass unharmed, these will target anything they come in contact with.
Build a Compost Pile
Many gardeners understand the importance of composting their yard and kitchen waste to turn it into the treasured “black gold” – an important soil amendment that improves long-term soil health. However, it’s less known that building a compost pile in your yard can help your lawn too.
Bacteria and fungi drive naturally occurring, biological processes in your compost pile to break down unwanted kitchen and yard waste, turning it into an organic material that is rich in nutrients and helpful soil bacteria. When the process is finished, adding the compost to your lawn through a process called topdressing provides benefits to both the soil and the turfgrass.
- Adds organic matter to the topsoil.
- Improves the soil structure, water holding capacity, and cation exchange capacity.
- Builds up beneficial soil microbes.
- Reduces thatch.
- Smooths out uneven terrain.
- Reduces the need for supplemental fertilizers.
To keep the lawn looking its best you need to mow properly, being careful not to cut the grass too short. Raise the height of the mower’s cutting deck to remove approximately ⅓ of the height of the grass each time it is mowed.
A taller lawn casts more shade to the soil below, reducing evaporation of soil moisture. Letting the grass grow taller also helps promote a deeper root system, making it more drought-tolerant.
Choose The Right Seed for Your Climate
If you are reseeding, overseeding, or establishing a lawn at a new home, a great eco-friendly lawn care tip is to choose the right type of grass seed for your climate and the sun/shade exposure of your lawn.
Grasses are classified as cool-season or warm-season.
- Cool-season grasses flourish in northern regions where temperatures are cooler in the spring and fall seasons, and summers are moderate.
- Warm-season grasses thrive on summer heat – but can’t withstand northern winters – so they are used in southern regions where seasonal summer temperatures run high.
Following the tips above will help you achieve a lush green, eco-friendly lawn. Thanks for reading!