A beautifully landscaped, green lawn is something sought after by many Americans. It has became the new "keeping up with the Joneses" to make your lawn more full and more green than your neighbor's.
The standard way of doing this is to use lawn treatment chemicals, fertilizers and lots of watering; all of which are harmful to our environment, animal life and most scary of all, harmful to us! The only way to reduce a dependence on chemical fertilizers is to develop a healthy lawn, which is naturally resistant to weeds, insects and diseases.
Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system. (references). In addition, for you pet owners, pet bladder cancer has been linked to lawn pesticide applications (Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, April 15, 2004.)
I am aware that it is easy to become bogged down with facts and figures. It has become so easy to read the above paragraph and it just go right over our heads. There are so many warning out there today that we have become desensitized to them.
This link offers some personal stories about the harmful effects of lawn pesticides.
Making a change to "green" lawn care doesn't have to mean turning into a hippie. It can be done a lot easier than one may think.
Starting with one of the most basic aspects of lawn care, if you mow your grass to the proper height and disperse the small grass clippings evenly, this can provide many benefits. Here is a link that discusses the different types of grass and the proper mowing heights for each.
- Raise the height of your mower blade during the hot and dry season. A higher setting reduces moisture loss and encourages deep root growth.
- Keep the blades on your mower sharp and clean, and mow when the grass is dry.
- Mow over leaves so they will decompose along with grass clippings.
- Collect leaves and grass clippings for mulching or composting (instead of sitting them on the curb for garbage pickup).
Here is a site that sells natural lawn care products.
- It makes turf greener and tougher.
- It prevents common turf diseases.
- It reduces or eliminates fertilizer needs. Grasscycling provides about 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn per year.
- It cuts down on watering needs
- It eliminates the disposal of grass clippings and leaves.
Smart Watering can also cut down on the amount of chemical you use on your lawn.
Watering your lawn, on average, accounts for 40 to 60 percent of residential water consumption during the summer months. This makes lawn maintenance not only a chore but also a drain on the pocketbook and water supply. What is worse, is that much of the water applied to lawns is never absorbed by plants.
The greatest waste of water is from watering to often or too rapidly.
What do do?
Your watering practices should be influenced by the weather. Decrease the amount and duration of your watering during cool or humid conditions and skip a scheduled watering after a moderate rainfall.
Water during the "right" time of day. If you water early in the morning it will prevent mildew diseases and it will cut down on evaporation. The type of soil you have will determine how often you should water and how much you should water.
Set your sprinklers so that you are actually watering the plants and not the driveway. Use timers and/or moisture sensors to prevent over-watering. Soaker hoses deliver water directly to the base of the plant, reducing moisture loss from evaporation. A sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water instead of a fog or fine mist, which wastes water by evaporation and wind drift.