Go green with eco-friendly lawn-care tips that will give you the prettiest yard of them all.
The Greenest Grass Go green with eco-friendly lawn-care tips that will give you the prettiest yard of them all. by: Lucinda Michell
If you covet a beautiful lawn created by synthetic chemicals but are concerned about wreaking havoc on the planet (not to mention the health of family and pets), you’re about to get some fantastic news. “The latest generation of organic products and techniques are far more effective than earlier versions,” says Shepherd Ogden, director of the nonprofit SafeLawns Foundation. “That means that a natural lawn can actually look better and stay green longer with the same amount of effort, time and money—especially when considered over the long run.”
When it comes to fertilizer, there’s a crucial difference between organic and synthetic. Synthetic fertilizers only feed the grass, eventually killing off soil organisms and promoting unnatural growth. Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, create a balanced system by feeding the soil. This creates a living and active underground system, which in turn nourishes the grass. As an added bonus, this natural cycle also discourages the disease and insects that can plague a synthetic lawn.
How can you tell if your soil is healthy? Check for worms. Not only do they break up hard, packed dirt, but they also add organic matter by excreting a natural fertiilzer. It’s so effective, TerraCycle even produces an eco-friendly and super-powerful organic plant food from (brace yourself) worm poop.
For weed control, the trick is to identify the weed and determine why it’s there. For example, Michael Bosco, an organic landscape expert with Sustainable Growth Texas, explains that bindweed indicates lack of soil fertility, while nutsedge weed means there isn’t enough air. Adding compost is the solution to the first problem, and aerating your lawn will help the second.
For quick weed eradication, Michael recommends a good shot of vinegar. Chinch bugs a problem? Spray rosemary and peppermint oil, a nerve poison specific to insects. Because these are botanicals (i.e., derived from plants), no protective gear is necessary.