We all want a greener lawn – both in color and in making our yard and surroundings more earth friendly. So, here are some lawn care tips that will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood and help maintain a healthy soil in your yard.
Lawn care is typically considered a chore, but it can be a great opportunity to spend time outside nurturing what beautifies your yard, purifies your soul and balances your life. With the right equipment and a combination of eco-friendly grasses, fertilizers, weeding and watering techniques, it’s also an opportunity to be earth friendly.
The first step when greening up your lawn is testing your soil, notes lawn care expert Paul Tukey, who loves to hand out eco-friendly lawn care tips. He says it’s important to make sure your soil is optimized to nourish the grass in a sustainable way. He recommends getting your soil tested at a local soil lab or agricultural extension office.
The technician there should be able to test for organic matter (which, in a perfect world, should measure 5 to 8 percent). He should also be able to test the pH level (which should be between 6.4 and 7.0). Finally, the calcium to magnesium ratio, which, ideally, should be 7 to 1.
Watering less frequently can actually improve the health of your lawn, according to Organic-Lawn-Care-Guide.com. Watering for a longer time, but less frequently, encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil. This enables them to better resist intense sun, drought and wear. Shallow rooted grass tends to thatch more readily. That reduces soil nutrients, requiring more water and is more likely to suffer in adverse conditions. Aerating the lawn can also add nutrients to the soil, strengthen roots and allow you to water much less.
Your lawn care will rely on a lawn mower that’s friendly to the environment. If you are shopping around, look at buying zero turn mowers, because they turn on a dime and avoid uncut grass and extra passes. They also eliminate the need for trimming because they are designed to cut grass closely around any objects in the way.
For the rest of your tool needs, you don’t need to look any further than your local Lowe’s. You can shop Lawn & Garden at Lowe’sonline and find everything you need conveniently, then pick it up in the store or have it shipped to your door. That’s a nice convenience.
Eco-friendly grasses place fewer demands on your water supply and your time (they require less mowing) and require less fertilizer. Three varieties of grass that benefit the environment include ecolawn, buffalo grass and seashore paspalum. Ecolawn is a blend of skinny grasses from the genus “fescue” and is similar to ryegrass.
Ecolawn tolerates minimal watering and can thrive without a lot of fertilizing. Best of all, it can grow anywhere in the country. Buffalo grass, a short grass that’s perennial, grows easily in drier areas of the country such as Nevada, Arizona and inland California. It is heat-, cold- and drought-resistant and goes dormant in warm weather.
Seashore paspalum grows well in the coastal areas in Southern states, actually dislikes fertilizer and tolerates recycled water or saltwater. One of the outstanding characteristics of seashore paspalum is its resistance to saline soils. Here in Dallas we utilize Bermuda, Texas bluegrass or St. Augustine due to it’s robust nature in the heat of summer. They all really need lots of water though, especially Bermuda, due to the extreme heat.
While your grass is green and lush, limit your watering to about an inch each week. The experts call it watering specifically or watering with purpose. Conservation then becomes effortless. This is one of the best lawn care tips I can offer for ideal growth and watering efficiency.
How you fertilize your lawn also impacts the environment. A slow-release natural organic fertilizer, such as Turf Essentials, slows down nitrogen production that can promote algae development. You already know how potentially damaging commercial weed killers can be for your health and the environment. For weed control, try boiling water or vinegar spray before using toxic chemicals.
Corn Gluten is 100 percent organic and very good at inhibiting the germination of weeds. A 1985 study at the Iowa State University discovered that it contains a protein that inhibited roots from forming in newly germinating seeds. Used on existing lawns, it is an excellent early season weed deterrent. It also is a good fertilizer, with 10% nitrogen content.
You can enjoy a thick, full, emerald lawn this spring and be kind to the environment at the same time, with some planning and educated shopping. You’ll be proud of your truly “green” grass.