Monday, August 17, 2009

#87 Keeping a Healthy Lawn

I am by no way saying we have a perfect lawn because who is judging what “perfect” is, but we do try to keep a healthy lawn for ourselves and the earth.
The best way to have a healthy lawn is to let it grow a little. Set your lawn mower height to 2.5-3.I believe our is set at 2.5 all year long. Check out this article about mowing height & frequency.
And contrary to what you may think, you actually end up mowing the lawn less. By letting the grass grow, you are allowing it to establish a stronger root system and you will consequently have less weeds. Also, given normal rainfall, you will have to water less with longer grass because longer grass has longer roots and can go deeper into the ground to find water whereas short grass with short roots will dry out more quickly and tend to brown more quickly.
The other thing you should do is periodically mow right onto the lawn and NOT bag it. The grass clippings will mulch back into your lawn providing free & natural fertilizer for you lawn. We do bag it a few times, especially the last mowing with all the leaves on the ground as well so that w don't create to much thatch on the lawn, but the grass & leaves we bag get emptied right onto the garden to mulch there and help fertilize that.

And the best thing you can do for your lawn is Let Go of the Idea of a “Perfect” Lawn. Stop competing with your neighbor about who has a greener lawn or has it freshly cut more often. This competition only leads to making unhealthy decisions for you lawn and then you enter a cycle of more & more unhealthy decisions.

Don't be afraid of what you might think are “weeds” in your lawn. Some of them are not and are needed to help your lawn naturally keep a good balance. Consider white clover in your lawn it grows low, needs little if any maintenance and is soft on your feet like grass. You will need a combination of clover & grass for it to grow healthy. And if you salt or plow your driveway (or have salted areas from where the city plow truck came by), clover will take to those areas when grass has a hard time establishing.

That “perfect” lawn people think they need to strive for costs a lot of money to maintain and uses lots of chemicals that pollute our earth and also takes a considerable amount of time. I don't know about you, but I would rather play on my lawn with my daughter than spending time maintaining it to “perfection” and avoiding it because of the chemicals put on it.

And if you stick with your choice to maintain a healthy organic lawn, it might just catch on with your neighbors. They might be relieved to not have to compete and may even join in your organic lawn efforts.

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