Make Your Landscape Green: 5 Tips for Earth-Friendly Yard Care
Just because a yard is full of healthy green grass and landscape plants doesn't necessarily make it "green." In fact, many yards aren't eco-friendly at all. They often use huge amounts of water, chemical fertilizer, and pesticides to keep the lawn and garden looking nice. And on top of that, you're burning gasoline in the tools used to maintain the yard.
Now, this doesn't mean you'd need to get rid of your lawn and landscaping if you want to live a greener life There's no reason for anything that extreme. But if you'd like a more earth-friendly yard, there are several steps you can take to keep your yard healthy and looking good while also helping the planet.
Eco-friendly lawn care starts with mowing the right way so grass stays healthy. Healthy grass needs less water and fertilizer to keep it looking green and it'll choke out weeds. Basically, you want to make sure you're not cutting the grass too often or too short. Each type of grass has a recommended height range. For example, most resources say to mow bermudagrass and zoysiagrass so they stay between 1 and 2 inches tall.
But grass needs less water and has fewer problems with weeds if you add an inch to that mowing range. So if you have bermudagrass or zoysia in your yard, you can let it grow until it's about 3 to 4 inches tall then cut it back to 2 to 3 inches tall. Never remove more than 1/3 of the total grass height when mowing. It stresses the plants. And unless you're fighting a lawn disease make sure you mulch your grass clippings and leave them on the lawn. That returns nutrients and water to the soil.
You can cut back on the amount of water you use by planting drought-tolerant landscape plants and watering only when your lawn absolutely needs it. Frequent watering encourages shallow root system and can trigger fungus growth. It's actually healthier for the lawn to let it get a little stressed between waterings so it will grow deeper roots looking for water. And if you start collecting rainwater and using that when your lawn needs water, you'll be conserving resources and lowering your water bill.
Use Natural Products
If you're not watering a lawn all the time and forcing it to grow more quickly, there's really no need for frequent fertilization. You can replace all your regular fertilizer applications with compost. Just spread about 1/6 of an inch of compost over the lawn once in the spring or early summer then lightly rake it into the soil.
You'll also want to use natural alternatives to chemical herbicides. That'll be safer for you and stop these chemicals from running off into streams or leaching into groundwater. Smarter mowing practices and fertilizing with compost will help keep the grass healthy so weeds don't take over. Also, keep in mind that a few weeds aren't going to hurt your lawn and some are actually good for the grass. Clover, for example, helps fix nitrogen in the soil to feed the grass.
Composting lets you turn kitchen scraps and yard waste into fertilizer instead of sending it to the landfill. Throwing away plant scraps is a waste of nutrients. And once you know how to compost, it's easy to turn something you were going to just throw out into free fertilizer that's super healthy for your lawn and gardens.
Going green can also mean replacing older, outdated lawn equipment. Modern gasoline-powered equipment is more fuel-efficient and cuts back on emissions. And with today's battery-powered equipment you can ditch the fuel-use altogether without sacrificing power and efficiency, especially if you have a small to medium size yard.
If you're looking for high-quality equipment that won't end up in the landfill just a year or two down the road, come visit Richardson Saw & Lawnmower. We carry a wide range of equipment from top brands and we can help you pick the right fuel-efficient or battery-powered tools for your yard.