Lawns beautify your home and create space for several activities. A lot of work goes into caring for your lawn and making sure it looks healthy and lush. To maintain this beautiful appearance, you use different types of fertilizers, tools and water all of which have major negative impact on the environment. Many of these products you use on your lawn are known to cause more harm than good. Maintaining your lawn comes at a very high cost to you and the environment; it requires a lot of fertilizers, weed killers, pest control and other chemicals that contaminate and cause havoc to water bodies when they are washed off by rain.
Over 50% of water goes into lawn care creating shortage of water in some areas, this alone is a huge problem. Most of the tools used to maintain and care for lawns run on gasoline, which means they emit a lot of smoke due to combustion. Lawn mowers are said to emit about 10 times more smoke and hydrocarbon than cars do leaf blowers emit 30 times as much smoke as a regular car. These fumes and emissions are the major contributing factor to climate change and pollution. This is why we have to keep the environment safe by using eco-friendly and organic lawn care products on our lawn.
The big question is how do you maintain your lawn and keep the environment safe? In this article, we have provided a few tips on how you can maintain and care for your lawn in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Here is an easy guide to help you care for your lawn in an eco-friendly way.
Improve the Soil
Good soil plays a very important role in maintaining and growing eco-friendly and healthy plants. To improve your soil, the first thing to do is to test the pH of the soil. You can purchase a pH test at a very low price, or you can call a professional. Healthy soil should be slightly acidic; its pH range should fall between 6.5 and 7.0. If your soil is too acidic, you can add lime to balance it. Use a bit of sulphur if it is not acidic enough. The next thing to do is to aerate your soil or your lawn if you have a pre-existing lawn. This is because the soil may have become compacted due to heavy foot traffic. Compact soil makes it difficult for water, air and nutrients to get into the soil, and this affects the health of your grass.
You can aerate your lawn by hand by using a pitchfork or a spike aerator to aerate your lawn. If you choose to use a pitchfork, slightly rock it back and forth as you push it into the soil. Before you begin to aerate your lawn, make sure it is moist, this makes it easy. Spike aerators are manual aerators that are much like a fork; they have a fork-like end used to poke holes into the soil. To get the best result, you can rent a mechanical aerator or hire a lawn service to get the job done. After aerating, spread a thin layer of organic matter like compost or grass clippings over your lawn. This improves the soil’s water and nutrient retaining capacity.
Leave Grass Clippings
After trimming your lawn, it is best to leave the grass clippings on your lawn instead of raking—this healthy for your soil, plants as well as the environment. Grass clippings are the best type of mulch; they decompose quickly into the soil and provides it with enough nutrients needed to grow your grass. This is safer and better than using chemical fertilizers which are known to cause more harm than good to the soil and the environment. Commercial fertilizers eventually end up in streams or other water bodies after being washed off by rain. Grass clippings improve the health of your soil by adding nutrients and protects it from excess water loss.
Keep Your Grass Tall
Tall grass is known to be healthier than short grasses; this is because the roots grow deeper and have more access to water and nutrients. When you are trimming your lawn, cut to a height of about 3 inches as this is ideal for your grass. Let your grass grow tall before you trim it. This saves you from the stress of having to cut it every now and then; it also limits the amount of fertilizer and lawn care materials used on your lawn. This is the best way to conserve energy and keep your soil and plants at their best.
Your lawn requires a lot of water to grow, but the amount of water used on your lawn can be controlled. You can do this by watering your lawn deeply rather than regularly. If you use sprinklers to water your grass, set it to go off at night or early in the morning because the rate of water loss at these hours is reduced. The air is much cooler at night and morning than in the afternoon. Leave your sprinkler on for an extra 5 minute to ensure that the water reaches the root. This way, you are watering your lawn less frequently and still getting the best result. Overwatering your lawn is unnecessary as this is a means of wasting resources. Turn off your sprinklers if it is likely to rain. You can use water irrigation tools like rain gauge or micro-drip irrigation system to help conserve water. Read Caring for a Lawn in Areas with Water Restrictions to know more about conserving water while caring for your lawn.
Ditch Gas-Powered Lawn Mowers
Gas-powered lawn mowers emit a lot of smoke and hydrocarbon which pollutes the air and greatly contributes to global warming. These emissions are as a result of the combusting process the machine undergoes. Gas-powered lawn mowers emit 10 times more hydrocarbons than cars. These emissions, including nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, are very harmful to our health and the environment.
A better option is electric lawn mowers; these may be corded or run on battery. They emit way less harmful materials and operate quietly. The disadvantage of electric mowers is the high amount of energy or electricity they consume; this attracts financial as well as environmental costs. A more eco-friendly option is the push mower. These are manually operated and don’t have motorized components.
Push mowers don’t use fuel or electricity; all they require is arm strength since they have to be manually pushed around the lawn. This type of lawn mower requires little or no maintenance; there’s no need for power cables or extensions and no extra costs on gas or electricity. Push mowers are easy to use and straightforward.
Reel mowers are a type of push mowers, for more, see Are Reel Mowers Any Good?
Use Organic Fertilizer
Regular fertilizers are composed of a lot of heavy chemicals which get washed away into water bodies when it rains. These heavy chemicals may be good for your lawn because of the nutrients they supply, but they are harmful to the environment. When these chemicals get washed into water bodies, they cause algae to grow really fast. These algae use up all the nutrients in the water and kill everything else that lives in it. Organic fertilizers are the best alternative; they contain all the nutrients your lawn needs, and they don’t cause havoc to the environment. Organic fertilizers are usually made up of natural ingredients rich in potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. The best type of fertilizer is your yard and kitchen waste. These are the most natural type of fertilizers and can be produced right in your kitchen. Home-made fertilizer is easy to make and cost way less than conventional fertilizers. You can get a compost bin to store food scraps and other kitchen compost.
Aerate Your Lawn
Soil can get compacted or compressed very easily, and this makes it difficult for nutrients, air and water to get into the soil. Healthy soil should have a lot of space to allow these nutrients to easily enter into the soil. Aerating your lawn helps to create these spaces, and this can be done by using an aerator.
Create a Buffer
If you live close to a river, lake or stream, you should create a buffer between your lawn and the waterway. This is so that whatever lawn care you use on your lawn doesn’t get washed off into the body of water. It’s important to let the vegetation around that area grow naturally.
Create Pathways on Your Lawn
Pathways are important to reduce the foot traffic on your lawn. This is necessary, so the soil doesn’t get compacted easily. You can arrange pave stones or gravel in areas with high foot traffic, or you can hire a landscape artist to help with the job.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Lawn Care
Eco-friendly or organic lawn care requires natural lawn care materials. Switching up conventional fertilizers, weed killers, and pesticides with organic or home-made fertilizers improve the health of the environment. Synthetic environment eventually gets washed away into water bodies, and this contaminates the water. Using organic lawn care materials on your lawn helps to maintain a healthy environment.
Enriches Your Soil
Treating your soil with organic materials improves the health of your soil and also enriches it. The nutrients provided by these materials helps to stabilize the soil’s pH levels and boosts microbial activities in the soil. Using organic lawn care materials on your soil provides it with high-quality nutrients and minerals that keep your lawn green, lush and healthy.
Improves the Health of Your Lawn
Using natural and organic materials on your lawn improves the health of your lawn and revitalizes it. Synthetic fertilizers suck up the nutrients from your soil and leave it defenceless against weeds and pests. With organic fertilizers, your soil has more nutrients; it can hold water more and can survive on its own. Organic fertilizers are composed of purely natural substances that are biodegradable and gradually release nutrients into your soil over a long period. This causes the eco-system of your soil to thrive and flourish, giving your lawn a beautiful and healthy appearance.
Eco-friendly lawn care helps to keep the environment safe and secure. There are many ways at which you can take care of your lawn and still ensure the environment is at its best. Taking Care of Your Lawn‘ should be easier and safer by following the instructions provided in the article.