Looking to turn over a new leaf (pardon the pun), in your approach to lawn care? Do you think that there must be a better, more environmentally friendly, organic and safe way to have a lush, green lawn? You’re right – there is! Here the Daleys Turf team list their 5 top tips to having a more ‘green’ lawn.
1.Take a different view.
Growing a healthy lawn in a natural and organic way might mean you need to take a different view of your lawn and what lies beneath – you must consider that your soil is alive.
The organisms that live in the soil below the grass have exactly the same needs that you and I do – to drink, eat, breathe, digest and excrete and just like with us, the healthier we are the more likely it is that we will stay that way and develop naturally. Growing lawn in healthy soil will ensure it is lower-maintenance, disease resistant and drought tolerant.
Organic fertilisers are soil food that will nourish the organisms, whereas chemical fertilisers just feed the plants directly. Chemical fertilisers also potentially cause damage to groundwater and waterways through runoff and that does no-one’s health any good.
2. Take stock and then shop.
You shouldn’t purchase any fertiliser or soil additives for your lawn, unless you have first conducted a
soil test and considered the results, therefore ensuring the exact needs of your lawn and the soil.
A soil test takes the guess work out of what is really needed – and it’s better for your soil, plants, the environment and your wallet. A soil test, will let you know how much nitrogen (N), potassium (K), phosphorus (P), lime, sulphur or other nutrients are required.
3. Listen with your eyes.
Many homeowners curse the dreaded weeds, but perhaps there is again a different approach to be had. By learning to identify the weeds that appear in your lawn, you can see that your lawn and it’s soil are actually trying to tell you something – what it needs. Think of weeds as a natural early warning system – they can tell you what’s going on with the condition of the soil below.
While we can take many different avenues to eliminate the weeds – chemical or natural – they will continue to come back, until the soil conditions are dealt with. So perhaps it’s best to heed the message the weeds bring.
As an example –
Excessive Plantain signifies heavily compacted clay soil and excessive Dandelion signifies that your soil probably needs more calcium and less magnesium.
4. An alternative approach to bugs.
First a reality check – very few insects do any real damage to our lawns, so complete annihilation particularly of the harsh, chemical variety, should never be the ultimate goal.
A few tips for a gentler approach to lawn pests:
- Avoid chemical, synthetic fertilisers with high levels of nitrogen. These types of fertilisers promote a lot of growth in a short period of time – insects see this as an invitation to a feast and will attack the lawn plants in greater numbers.
- Find a natural, food-grade pesticide that is safe to be used around children and pets – if it’s safe for them, then it’s good for a living, breathing, growing lawn.
- Consider a natural solution – beneficial nematodes or traps can be beneficial to your lawn, your family and the local environment.
5. Lay the right grass.
Not all lawns are created equal – some varieties prefer full sun, whilst others are shade tolerant, some varieties tolerate foot traffic well. Others suffer from compaction quite easily and some varieties are water guzzlers and others are drought tolerant – so it’s important to have the right lawn for your local conditions.
Some newer varieties of grass cultivars have been cultivated to grow more slowly and to resist disease which equates to a lower need for pesticides, watering and mowing. The lower the need for these things, the lower the cost of maintenance, the lower the air pollution from lawn mowers and the lower the amount of water required to maintain a healthy, green lawn.
Good luck going green in 2014!