Monday, August 25, 2008

How Can I Maintain A "Green" Lawn?

How, you may ask, can I maintain a “green” lawn and it still be, well… green? Thankfully for all of us, the answer is: quite easily! Mainstream, chemical filled fertilizers like Miracle Gro are not the only answers to a lush, carpet-like lawn. I assume grass was still thick and green before the invention of synthetic and chemical fertilizers. We always think we can create something better than what already exists in nature — but nature proves again and again that this just isn’t so.

One easy and inexpensive way to add nutrients to your lawn is to simply leave it there. Sounds too easy, right? Well it is! When you mow, don’t gather all of those valuable grass clippings into a lawn bag and throw them away! Let them lay where they may fall, and as they decompose they will act as a natural mulch as well as add much needed nutrients back into the soil.

Another way to use resources that you already have is to compost. Gather unused and leftover fruits and veggies, even paper goods. Put them into your composting bin or pile, and soon you’ll have sweet smelling and nutrient filled lawn food. Learning how to compost is easy and provides numerous benefits for the environment.

The most widely known fertilizers are, of course, commercially produced fertilizers. One great thing about living in a time when people are more conscious of the effects of chemicals is the wide availability of commercially produced organic fertilizers. There are many sites on the internet that provide a wide array of organic fertilizers.

Lawn aeration is not “fertilization” so to speak, however, it is one aspect of a healthy lawn that is often overlooked, and does contribute to the health of your grass. When you use organic fertilizers and eliminate chemicals, you encourage organisms such as earthworms to live in your lawn. Earthworms aerate your lawn naturally by creating air pockets as they live and work in the soil.

Lastly, I want to address one pest that thwarts our efforts toward a green lawn, often treated with chemicals: the grub worm. Grub worms can kill even the healthiest lawn by digging in and eating your lawn’s roots. Nematodes are microscopic worms that kill grub worms when they are still in the larval stage, so it is important to treat in the early spring before the grubs mature.

The less we use chemical based fertilizers the better. Fewer chemicals will leach into the water supply and soil, our families will be safer and our air will be cleaner. One person can make a difference!


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