The overall health and appearance of your lawn can say a lot about your approach to homeownership. A lawn that looks healthy, vibrant and well-maintained is often indicative of a home that’s well cared for, whereas a lawn that’s discolored, laden with weeds or improperly mowed gives off the impression of laziness and neglect.
Still, a healthy lawn often requires a fair amount of resources (both natural and financial), and not all homeowners are comfortable with this approach to grass maintenance.
If eco-friendly alternatives to traditional lawn care are what you seek, you’re sure to appreciate the following pointers.
1. Avoid Over-Mowing
A staggering percentage of residential lawns are consistently over-mowed. Seeking to minimize the amount of time spent on lawn maintenance, many homeowners regularly cut their grass as short as possible.
While their logic is certainly understandable, over-mowing stands to make your lawn considerably less resilient. For example, the shorter the grass blades, the less equipped they are to retain and soak in moisture.
As such, grass that’s too short typically requires far more water than grass that’s kept at its ideal length. With this in mind, look up your grass type’s recommended length and adjust your mower settings accordingly.
While this may mean having to mow a little more often than you’d like, it will help preserve the health of your lawn and reduce water use.
2. Take Advantage of the Rain
Many types of grass require regular waterings to remain in peak condition. Although the exact amount varies depending on grass type, most lawns require between 1” and 1 ½” of water per week, especially during their prime growth season.
However, if you live in an area that receives steady rainfall, you may only need to administer the occasional manual watering. Since overwatering can have a number of adverse effects on your lawn’s long-term wellbeing, there’s no sense in needlessly wasting water if Mother Nature is already being generous with it.
Conversely, if you can’t rely on rainfall to keep your grass nourished, you can avoid wasting water by investing in a reliable automatic sprinkler system.
By setting the system to administer specific amounts of water at pre-set times, you can ensure that your lawn isn’t overfed and minimize water use.
If you aren’t crazy about watering your lawn in general, consider replacing your current grass with a drought-resistant variety. Certain types of grass are able to maintain a fresh, healthy appearance despite requiring very little in the way of care and maintenance.
Not only can making the switch to drought-resistant grass help minimize your use of natural resources, it can also be a huge timesaver.
3. Annual Aeration
Annual aeration can be a boon to your lawn’s long-term health. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, aeration entails perforating the soil with small holes in an effort to break up soil compaction.
This effectively gives the soil room to breathe, thereby creating favorable growth conditions. For warm season grasses, aeration is best performed at the beginning of spring or summer – i.e., when the soil has thawed.
Alternatively, cool season grasses generally respond better to aeration performed in the fall. Since aeration is a specialized task, people who lack experience with it should reach out to a professional lawn service.
4. Make Use of Your Clippings
Instead of simply disposing of your grass clippings, why not put them to work? Spreading clippings across a freshly-mown lawn can be an effective way to provide shade and nutrition and encourage healthy growth.
However, there are a few caveats. For starters, wet clippings should never be used in such a manner, as they can create clumping. (Also, as a general rule of thumb, you should avoid mowing your lawn while it’s wet.)
Secondly, if your lawn is suffering from a disease, clippings are practically guaranteed to exacerbate its condition.
Keeping your lawn healthy and vibrant requires a fair amount of hard work and follow-through. However, this isn’t to say that lawn maintenance should be a drain on your resources or free time.
Additionally, homeowners who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint will be pleased to learn that eco-friendliness can go hand-in-hand with responsible lawn care.
So if you want to achieve a healthy lawn while doing right by the environment, put the previously discussed tips to good use.