Your lawn is where you spend your summertime hours having fun whether it is barbecuing, playing games, enjoying the beauty of nature or just setting and relaxing – it is the heart of your outdoor family life. Is your lawn true green or is it a carpet of chemicals, toxic land of health risks, and environmental hazard? To help you find a true green lawn I have some tips that will help you have the peace of mind knowing that your children, pets, and all your friends and families can play and enjoy the great outdoors without fear of causing health problems and be safe.
Americans spend billions of dollars annually on lawn care to make sure it looks perfectly green, lush, and smooth, but is that all really necessary or safe? We want to remove dandelions and crabgrass because we believe it is not so pretty. We put chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides that cause much damage.
What Risks and Damage Does These Toxic Ingredients Cause?
- Soil damage — The Virginia Cooperative Extension in its publication “Nutrient Management for Lawn Service Companies,” states that some fungicides and pesticides can kill 60 to 90 percent or more — of the earthworms where they are applied.
- Water — 40-60 percent of nitrogen from fertilizers runs off or leaches into our water supply either in the ground water or surface water and wells.
- Wildlife including fish, birds, and bees. Commonly used lawn-care chemicals can persist in soil and water for weeks, which can lead to the contamination of aquatic resources and local wildlife. 60 to 70 million birds die from pesticide poisoning each year in the US.
- Our children and pets. According to reports from the EHHI (Environment and Human Health, Inc) the risks of using pesticides on your lawn increases the odds of childhood leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma have been associated with children living in households where pesticides are used on their lawns.
5 Greener Lawn Care Tips:
1. Shop locally for your grass seed and plant what is the best choice for your area and climate. For example for cooler climates a bluegrass or perennial rye-grass grows best. For warmer climates try Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass for a thick and lush lawn that discourages weeds. Choosing the right type of grass for your area will allow you to have a healthier and stronger lawn and help cut down on the need to water.
2. Feed you lawn the organic way. Simple ways of feeding your lawn naturally can be the healthiest way.
- Leaving your grass clippings when you mow is a great natural fertilizer or if you prefer use a mulching mower. A mulching mower can reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer by up to 30%, as well as reducing the amount of organic material which ends up in a landfill or incinerator.
- Try spreading finely shredded compost with a manure spreader to add organic matter that will help keep your lawn healthier and strong.
- If you feel a need to add other fertilizer make sure it is organic fertilizer that will add good nutrients and not rob the soil and cause an imbalance.
- If you feel that you need to water your lawn make sure you do it early in the morning. Much of the water from daytime watering is lost to evaporation. Avoid over-watering your lawn – it’s more damaging than under-watering.
3. Mow properly. Make the mowing count by making sure you don’t cut too much off the top. Don’t scalp your lawn set the mower blades to the proper cutting level for your region. If grass is cut higher it encourages deeper roots and better drought resistance. It is suggested that on northern climates 3 inches is a healthy height whereas in southern lawns one inch.
4. Give you lawn a preventive check up. Check the soils health with a pH test kit that you can buy from your local hardware store or on-line. An acceptable score is 6.5 to 7 range.
If your lawn pH is not at the proper level:
- Adding your own compost can naturally correct it.
- Or an organic slow-release fertilizer made for maintaining healthy lawn.
- Liquefied seaweed fertilizers is well-known for its ability to boost a tired lawn into tip-top shape and good health.
5. Appreciate the gifts your lawn can provide. Did you realize that what many people call lawn invaders are actually nature’s medicine.
- Dandelions that are like brilliant little suns have so much to offer us in nutrients and are an amazing food source. Read “That Bright Yellow Weed – Dandelion!” You can use dandelions tender leaves in a tasty spring salad or add it to a green smoothie.
- What about Plantain another so-called weed that is also one of Nature’s miracles cures. You can make a poultice with mashed up leaves to treat insect bites or bee stings, infections, and to help remove slivers.
- Clover has many health benefits. This herb detoxifies the lymph, lungs, liver, kidneys, and blood. It helps gout by decreasing the accumulation of uric acid, soothes bronchi spasms, decreases arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Stinging nettle another so-called weed that grows in our lawns has many health benefits. According to the University of Maryland Stinging Nettle is effective in treating UTI, osteoarthritis, hay fever, joint pain, sprains, tendonitis, and insect bites.
Green lawn care is so important to live a healthy and green lifestyle. For many your backyard is a retreat from the hustle and bustle of a heckle work day where we can relax and the kids can play. Make sure you lawn is safe for your kids, the animals, birds, and the environment. Make this world a safer and healthier place by greening your lawn and let Nature work for you.