When you imagine a picture-perfect lawn, what you don’t see is tons of wasted water, fertilizer and pesticides. Waster is a precious resource that shouldn’t be wasted on mindless watering, while pesticides are literal poison that kills beneficial plants and insects. Pesticides can also damage the soil and penetrate the underground waters, leaving them infected. Luckily, you can have a beautiful lawn without all the damage to the ecosystem. Here’s how to create an eco-friendly lawn:
Test your soil
To prevent unnecessary fertilizing and overwatering, it’s best to start your lawn care by testing the soil. This will show you what kind of soil you’re working with and how much fertilizing and care it requires to produce healthy grass. Overfertilizing can result in toxic runoff that can only be worsened by overwatering.
Add some compost
No matter the test results of your soil, it’s always smart to spread some compost on the lawn. This will enrich the soil with essential materials and prepare it for the grass, especially if you’re working with clay or sand soil. Compost is 100% organic and contains nothing buy beneficial organisms, bacteria, algae an fungi that boost the health of your soil.
Choose the right grass
Not all grass is created the same. For a more eco-friendly lawn, it’s best to choose native turf-grass seeds since these varieties are familiar with the soil in your area and can thrive in your average rain fall, resulting in less need to water the lawn and treat it for diseases and pests. You can also practice something called “overseeding” or spreading new grass seed over the old lawn, making it look fuller and younger. Mix your old lawn with new seeds and include nitrogen-providing clover to enrich the soil.
During the growing season, your lawn might need a little boost, so fertilize it with organic fertilizers. Many kinds of organic fertilizer can be found in garden centers, but make sure to choose something that contains natural ingredients like seaweed (provides potassium), bone meal (provides phosphorous) and feather meal (provides nitrogen). While chemical fertilizers contain a heavy dose of synthetic minerals and shoot it instantly into the soil, these organic kinds provide a slower and more controlled release into the soil that’s much easier and more natural to handle for the grass.
Learn how to maintain your grass
Every lawn needs to be cut properly in order to develop strong and healthy roots and fend off weeds. If you have a lot of grass to cut, it’s best to consult with lawn mowing experts and seek their services. They will not only do all the hard work for you, but also know just what kind of haircut your lawn needs for optimal growth and health. For a small lawn, you can do the work yourself, just make sure to find out the best height for your turf.
Keeping weeds away
Organic lawns often struggle with weeds, especially in their first few years until the soil and grass get strong enough to fight them off on their own. To prevent weeds from taking over your lawn, you can use an organic weed preventative made with corn gluten meal. Spread it around in the spring and watch it prevent weeds from sprouting. Of course, since this is an organic solution, it’s not 100% effective. In case you get some weeds after all, just roll up your sleeves and pull them by hand. There are also organic weed killers with citrus oil that dehydrates the roots of the weeds, or you can try vinegar instead.
Organic lawns require much less water than chemically-treated ones (there are no synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that require water to break down and digest). The key to proper watering is to water infrequently yet deeply. This habit will cause your grass to develop deep roots and make it strong and resistant to disease and drought. If you water early in the morning, your lawn will have enough time to soak up all the water and gently dry out. If you’re using sprinklers, position them in a way that won’t waste water on the driveway or sidewalk.
These basic tips will help you create a lawn that’s healthy, strong and green without wasting water or using pesticides and artificial fertilizers that change the soil and pollute water. An organic approach will give you all the satisfaction of a green lawn with much less work and zero guilt.