Published on June 28th, 2019 | by Sponsored Content0
Green Ways to Make Your Lawn Greener
Lawn care isn’t always the most sustainable landscaping activity you can do. Lawns are America’s number-one most irrigated crop, and they don’t offer any benefit in terms of food. Worse, typical lawn care involves relying heavily on toxic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, all of which can dramatically harm the surrounding environment for years to come.
Still, there’s no shame in wanting a lawn; they are undeniably attractive elements of an American landscape, and they provide a comfortable space for outdoor recreation. However, if you want your lawn to look as good as it can, you should avoid the potentially polluting chemicals and green it up in the following sustainable ways:
Fresh water is hardly an infinite resource; the U.N. reports that by 2050, the world will begin experiencing fresh water shortages, which is a serious concern considering that we don’t just need fresh water to live, we also need it to cook with, to clean with and to keep our lawns looking lush.
Thus, it’s vital that you avoid wasting even a drop by improperly watering your lawn. Regardless of where you live and how much sun your lawn receives, your grass needs a net 1.5 inches of water per week, which is best administered in one or two long, slow drinks in the morning. This ensures that more of the water seeps deep into the soil, where the grass’s roots can use it, and that less of the water evaporates, becoming useless to your landscape.
If you get a good amount of rain, you might not need to water much at all. Then again, you might also consider using a rain barrel to catch excess rain, which you can then use to water your landscape. Another water-wise solution is setting up a gray water system, which channels water from sinks, washing machines, bathtubs to the landscape, so you are recycling mostly clean water.
How you mow your lawn has a significant impact on its health, which translates directly to how green and thick it looks. Certain heights allow grass to better fend off invasions of pests or weeds, and they also retain water in the soil at a more advantageous rate.
Generally, if you have a cool-season grass (like a fescue, ryegrass or bluegrass) you should allow your lawn to remain taller, around 3-4 inches, and if you have a warm-season grass (like Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, or St. Augustine grass) you want to crop it closer to the soil, leaving about a half-inch of height. You can look up more specific mowing heights online, or you can talk to a qualified lawn care provider in your area.
Lawns that suffer from thinness or patchiness can be rejuvenated in a quick and Earth-friendly way called overseeding. Unlike reseeding, which is changing the composition of your lawn or regrowing a lawn after catastrophic mistreatment, overseeding is simply spreading some grass seed over your lawn to add thickness. However, you must be careful to overseed in a steady flow, so your lawn doesn’t grow thick and lush in some spots and remain bare in others; it might be wise to hire professionals to help with overseeding your lawn, at least until you better understand the process.
It doesn’t take long for lawns to strip the soil of the nutrients they need, and after this happens, grass will slowly starve unless you add those nutrients back. Unfortunately, many of the fertilizers you can find at lawn care stores contain toxins and dangerous chemicals that have dire effects on the environment. Many of these fertilizers contain a significant excess of nutrients that are carried into groundwater and pollute fresh water sources as well as oceans and lakes.
It’s much smarter and safer to use natural and organic fertilizers. Easily the most affordable and effective fertilizer is compost, which you can create yourself in your own backyard using kitchen scraps. However, you can find Earth-friendly fertilizers at the store — you just might need to pay a bit more for them.
Lawns aren’t the most resource-efficient landscaping — but in truth, most plants require some care that isn’t 100 percent sustainable, and a lawn is a functional and attractive feature that you might desire in your yard. You don’t need to take dire steps like eliminating your lawn to achieve an eco-friendlier landscape. By ensuring your lawn is as efficient as possible, you are helping solve the problem and maintaining an attractive yard, too.
This post was sponsored by TruGreen.