Homeowners love their lawns. They keep down dust, allow a soft surface for our children to play on, and they can be a beautiful addition to the house if kept healthy. But lawns also have a darker side. Lawns use vast amounts of water, and gasoline from lawn mowers combine with the insecticide to pollute the air. Here are some tips to make your lawn more eco-friendly.
GREEN LAWN TIPS
Mulch your grass: As long as the grass is mulched correctly and left on the lawn, it is a great alternative to fertilizers, and will even feed the beneficial worms and insects that improve the quality of your lawn. Not to mention, keeping it on your lawn keeps it out of the already overfilled landfills.
Use human powered tools: Examples are push mowers, rakes, and spiked sandals that serve to aerate your lawn. This will drastically reduce your use of gasoline, which not only saves the environment, but also your wallet!
Mow Less: Mowing less will obviously help reduce gas used, but it will also save you work and time. One way to slow the growing process is to make sure you only cut your lawn to 3 inches. If you cut the grass lower it actually grows faster, because it will use its sugar reserves instead of sunlight.
Use slow-growing grass: Although it takes a little longer to take effect, slower growing grass, once installed will cut your mowing time in half, and will save a lot of gas. A popular option is Captiva, which grows around half the speed that standard grass does (depending on your region).
Use Organic weed control/fertilizers: Organic corn gluten-based weed control is widely available, and does not release harmful chemicals into the air the way more tradition types do. There are corn based fertilizers that do the same thing.
Don’t overwater: There are several signs you can watch for to avoid overwatering, which is not only a waste of a finite resource, but also bad for your lawn.
- Look for a pale green or yellow color
- Check the ground around your grass for runoff.
- Mushrooms or fungus growing are signs of overwatering as well.
Some good watering tips are to water infrequently. Right as the grass begins to curl is the best time to water the grass, however this can be risky, as the grass curls just before they begin to turn brown. In addition, watering in the early morning is the best time, because the temperatures are low, and early morning generally has the calmest wind.
Create birdfeeders: By attracting the kind of birds that will eat insects you remove the need to buy insecticide, and you bring beautiful birds to your home.
Rock gardens: Using river rock and larger stones can be a very attractive alternative to grass, and once you have finished putting them in they require nearly no maintenance. They can however get fairly hot in the summer, so using rocks for your entire yard may not be advised, however smaller gardens spaced around the yard will still save you gas from not having to mow it.
Using Native plants: Using a native plant mix, such as grass with wildflowers and other combinations can be a very pleasing visual; however it is advised you inform your neighbors and the city what you are doing. These lawns are generally much longer than pure grass, in order to allow the wildflowers room to bloom. This is generally an accepted practice, but if they do not know what you are doing, they may mow down your lawn thinking it is simply an out-of-control mess. The upside is that they require almost no human intervention; you can simply let Mother Nature do her thing!