If you thought that lawns are nothing more than mere recreational spaces, think again. Starting from stabilizing the soil and thwarting erosion, to decreasing runoff of rainwater, lawns can serve several useful purposes. But despite the benefits of lawns, much thought often doesn’t go into lawn maintenance practices. No wonder that people often manage their lawns in such a way that triggers serious environmental side effects.
If you too have a lawn and wish to protect the environment while taking care of your green patch, you can consider organic lawn care.
The emphasis of organic lawn care is on the selection of quality grass that’s fit for your location, and usage of natural management techniques to maintain a healthy lawn. When you use an organic lawn care approach, you will no longer require stocking up on potentially hazardous chemical pesticides around the home, or worrying about safe ways to dispose of the empty containers.
When you use organic fertilizers, along with biological pest management techniques, instead of pesticides, you will get rid of concerns about the harmful effects of pesticide residues on people. Thus, if you have children at home, who love to play on the lawn, or pets/birds/other wildlife that prefer to enjoy the greens, you can breathe easy as your lawn will be safe for them. Organic lawn care also decreases the potential risk of applicators who are exposed to harmful pesticides and other chemicals.
Many people compost yard waste and use other available wastes in their homes for organic lawn care. By recycling resources, such people can take care of their lawns in a natural way and also help the green cause. So, if you are ready to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lawn sans the use of synthetic chemicals, here are some tips that would help you in your endeavor:
Since most organic fertilizers have a relatively low quantity of nutrients per weight of the product, you need to opt for split applications, rather than covering your lawn with a heavy layer of fertilizer. You will also need to remember that most organic fertilizers contain 3 to 10% of nitrogen, which is usually tied up in complex organic molecules, and gets released slowly. Since it could be several weeks or even months before this nitrogen becomes available to the grass, the growth response could be slow, typically spread over a period of 1-2 months.
Experts advise that the frequency of mowing should be such that each mow removes less than 40% of the grass height. Also, you should mow when the grass is dry, because mowing the wet grass may help spread disease-causing organisms from the infected grasses to the healthy ones.
Depending on the nature of your turf, frequency of watering should be decided upon. It’s advisable to avoid frequent, light irrigations that make the foliage wet and offer favorable conditions for the growth of pests and other disease-causing micro-organisms.
When you notice weeds in small numbers, you can remove the entire plant and its root by using a trowel or spade. When weed infestation is heavy, you would need to treat and renovate the entire area. Covering the affected area for 7-10 days with sheets of black plastic, which will block water and sunlight apart from raising the soil temperature, would be an effective way to kill most weeds in the soil. A thick layer of mulch or compost can also kill weeds effectively, but you would need to be cautious not to introduce new weeds with the compost.
Protection against insects
Prevention is better than cure – this adage applies to your lawn too. If you take proper care of your lawn and encourage the growth of healthy grasses with deep roots, they will be in a better position to withstand the damage caused by insects. Again, regular mowing is necessary too, since you can minimize thatch buildup with it. Since the thatch layer plays host to leaves and roots, which the insects eat to survive, mowing the lawn regularly to maintain a proper grass height would help fight against the insect-menace. Other important steps are to ensure watering and fertilizing the lawn at the right time and rate.
So, use these organic lawn care tips to enjoy your greens in an environment-friendly way.