Caring for the environment should be a top priority for all of us these days, from global initiatives to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to local community projects. If you want to get involved in the effort to better protect our environment, there’s good news for you. You can literally get started in your own backyard!
Lawn care offers several opportunities to be environmentally friendly to promote living things in your yard, cut back on your footprint and achieve a beautiful lawn all at the same time. The following list of 8 eco-friendly lawn care tips is a great way to get started.
When it comes to lawn care, we typically first think about tending to the things we see above the surface – green grasses, colorful flowers, and sturdy trees. However, an environmentally-friendly perspective recognizes the soil below is alive as well. Underneath your grass is a complex ecosystem of things you can see, such as earthworms and ground beetles, as well as things you can’t see, such as microorganisms. Recognizing your soil is actually alive will help you think differently. It’s important to consider what the soil needs and what you can do to support this rich ecosystem, and the best way to start is to do your own home soil test.
Phosphorous is a major source of pollution for water systems. The phosphorous allows excess algae to grow, which can lower oxygen levels, introduce toxins, and kill fish. How much of our phosphorous problem is caused from home owners fertilizing their lawns is still under debate, but just to be safe, many communities are suggesting, and sometimes requiring, home owners use phosphorous-free fertilizer when fertilizing their lawns.
Lawn aeration involves pulling small ‘plugs’ of soil out of the ground, which at first may seem a little odd but makes perfect sense for the appearance of your lawn and your water usage. Over time, soil gets compressed from the weather, from people constantly walking on it, and several other factors. This prevents the proper spreading of water and nutrients, and when your grass doesn’t get the elements it needs, it won’t grow well. By taking out these plugs of soil, you’re adding space, which promotes better circulation of air, water and nutrients and provides a better habitat for the living organisms in the soil we just mentioned. In addition to making your lawn look healthier and more vibrant, the optimized soil from aerating your lawn means you’ll use less water when watering. These are just a few of the many benefits of lawn aeration.
It can be tempting to mow the lawn down short to prolong your next mowing, but longer grass is healthier and stronger. This provides shade for the soil so it doesn’t get scorched by the sun, promotes deeper root growth, and contributes to less erosion and runoff.
A long, deep, infrequent soak about two times per week is better than frequent, short watering. Watering is also more effective between 6:00 and 10:00 in the morning or in the evening time after the sun goes down. These techniques will reduce the water you use, and you can also collect water in rain barrels to conserve even more.
Instead of a store-bought fertilizer, go organic and fertilize with materials from your own yard. Grass clippings can be left on the yard to create a natural mulch. They can also be collected with leaves and other organic materials to fertilize flower beds.
Plants that are native to your area are designed to grow well in your soil and climate. They will require less care and save water because they can survive with regular rain water.
A final idea is to grow a food garden. The fruits and vegetables you get at the store contribute to pollution and energy use because of transporting, storing and refrigerating. If you grow some of your own food, you can help reduce these effects, plus you’ll have a healthy organic food supply to enjoy all to yourself.
As you can see, helping the environment doesn’t really require big sacrifices. You can start small in your own backyard with these 8 great eco-friendly tips.
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