Lawns are generally not known for being environmentally friendly. Weed free lawns don’t occur in nature so we spray the them with chemicals, apply all kinds of fertilizers and water them all summer. Some of what many gardeners add apply to their lawn actually kill organisms which are beneficial. There are, however, ways to care for your lawn which won’t harm the environment.
The U.S. National Wildlife Federation reports that where pesticide is used, 60 to 90 percent of earthworms are killed. Earthworms are vital for healthy soil and growth of vibrant green grass. In fact, where earth worms are present the soil is usually quite good. Caring for your lawn organically reduces the dependency on chemical fertilizers and pest controls. Environmentally friendly lawn care creates a healthy lawn that is naturally resistant to disease, insects and weeds.
Follow these natural lawn care basics to create a beautiful, earthworm-friendly lawn:
Natural lawn care begins and ends with healthy soil. Start your natural lawn care regime by testing the pH level of the soil. The ideal pH level for lawn soil is between 6.5 and 7.0, giving it a slightly more acidic property than regular loam soil. If your lawn soil is not acidic enough, add some sulfur into the soil. If it is too acidic, sprinkle lime liquid over your lawn. These materials are available at many garden centers.
Soil testing is a simple process that you can do independently as part of your natural lawn care regime, with pH tester packs readily available at $40 – $60. If you prefer, lawn care professionals are also available to test the soil for you.
Becoming familiar with the different grass varieties and their growth cycle is an important part of your natural lawn care plan. You should be aware that grasses vary in the type of climate they prefer. They may also differ according to the amount of water and nutrients they require, sun preference, shade tolerance, and the degree of traffic they can stand. Understanding the characteristics of the various grass species will help you choose the correct grass for you environment and will result in fewer problems. For example, a grass that prefers shade that is planted in a hot, sunny spot will dry out quickly and demand more water.
Avoid mowing your lawn too short as the surface roots may become exposed, allowing the soil to dry out faster and reducing surface aeration. As a general natural lawn care rule of thumb, do not cut off more than one-third of the grass height at any one time. You may have to mow more often, but it’s worth it when you discover that your lawn thrives with more frequent mowing at just the right height. Most turf grass species are healthiest when kept between 2.5 and 3.5 inches tall.
Watering encourages the development of deep root systems, making the lawn tougher and more drought-resistant. However, it’s important to let your lawn dry out before re-watering. As a general natural lawn care rule, when the grass color looks dull and footprints stay compressed for more than a few seconds, its time to water.
For a truly beautiful and healthy green space, remember to “keep it green”. Forget the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and opt for easy and inexpensive natural lawn care treatments instead. You’ll have a beautiful lawn, naturally.