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Natural Lawn Care: It’s Spreading

Contractors, campuses,  and homeowners are clamoring for natural lawn care solutions.  Why?

  • SAFETY & ENJOYMENT: Everyone likes a safe lawn where their pets or kids can play.
  • BANS ON PESTICIDES: Lots of communities have enacted bans on cosmetic pesticides. Due to these policies, people that still want to achieve a lush, dark, green lawn are looking for different options.
  • STORMWATER MANAGEMENT: Healthy soils reduce pollutants entering watersheds, and natural lawn care helps produce healthy soils.

Here are a few pieces of advice on how to love your lawn, naturally.

LAWN CARE ADVICE #1: Healthy Soil = Healthy Roots

As you can see in the following video, healthy soil = healthy roots. (And unhealthy soil will often lead to wimpy roots!)  You want to support your soil. One of the best ways to do that is by adding a natural soil builder, such as a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch layer of compost, to the soil each spring or fall.

LAWN CARE ADVICE #2: Small Choices Can Add Up to a Big Difference

The following video shows how a few small choices can support your natural lawn care goals.

  • Trim the Top: Set your lawnmower on its highest settings.
  • Grasscycle: Let your soil pick up what you put down; let the clippings land and return to the soil.
  • Support Your Soil: As mentioned earlier, apply a topdressing of compost or lawn soil each spring or fall.

LAWN CARE ADVICE #3: Figure out How Much You Need and How to Spread

As you look out at your yard or vast acreage, you might wonder, “How much compost or lawn soil do I need?”   Two tips:

Then, you might wonder, “How do I spread the compost or lawn soil?” Here are a few options:

  • Spreaders: There are a few main categories of spreaders available at your nearby lawn and garden supply store. The main three variables you’ll need to navigate are:
    • Push or Tow Behind
    • Broadcast or Drop
    • Size
  • Blower truck: Harvest partners with local blower truck operators that can spread the product for you.
  • Hand broadcast: In smaller spaces it’s possible to spread soil amendments by hand, then rake into the turf surface.

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3 Easy Tricks to Love Your Lawn Naturally

Everyone likes a lush, green lawn that is safe for people, pets and children to lounge and play. Here’s a video with a few easy tips for you to love your lawn naturally.

Natural Lawn Care, So Pets and Children (and You!) Can Play Safely

As the video shows, there are three (3) easy things you can do to keep your lawn lush, naturally.

3 easy tricks to love your lawn naturallyTRICK #1: Trim the Top

Set your lawnmower blades on the highest setting. Also, aim to only cut the top 1/3 of the grass blades at any one time; otherwise the grass gets stressed.

TECHNICAL CORNER
Different grass species actually have preferred lengths. For example, cool season grasses (Fescues, Kentucky bluegrass) range from 1-4” high. Warm season grasses (St Augustine, Bermuda, Centipede, and Zoysia) vary from 0.75-3” high. Learn more about ideal heights to mow grass.

TRICK #2: Grasscycle!

Let the clippings land and return to the soil. Those tiny little bits can actually help nourish the soil: they typically break down within one to two weeks, and provide 15 to 20% or more of a lawn’s yearly nitrogen requirements. Learn more about grasscycling.

TRICK #3: Support Your Soil

Every fall and spring, spread a ¼” layer of compost or lawn soil. This layer – called a topdressing – helps support the soil structure, promotes good drainage, and stimulates microbial activity (that’s a good thing).

 A Few Other Tips for Natural Lawn Care

First, remember the four key components of healthy soil composition:

  • Mineral Soil (~45%)
  • Organic Matter (~5%)
  • Water (~25%)
  • Air (~25%)

Next, check out this case study of the lush soccer fields in Haddam, Connecticut – impressive root structure, all from topdressing with compost!

Finally, use these easy tips to keep your lawn happy:

watering your lawnWATERING YOUR LAWN: Use the Tuna Can Trick

If you’re going to water your lawn (or, ahem, frolic in a sprinkler), use a tuna fish can to roughly gauge how much water has fallen: place a tuna can on the grass when you turn on the sprinkler(s), and turn off the sprinkler(s) when the tuna can is full.

A few other tips around watering:

  • GO FOR DEEP, LESS OFTEN: Try to water well once per week rather than a few shallow sprinkles throughout the week. Then let the grass dry out completely over the week until you water deeply again. The roots will actually get more sturdy and robust during the dry period by searching for water compared to if you give them a few light sprinkles.
  • WATER IN THE MORNING OR EVENING: You’ll lose less water to evaporation.

screwdriver test for lawnsAERATING YOUR LAWN: Use the Screwdriver Trick to Test

If you’re curious about whether or not your lawn needs aeration, try the screwdriver trick: Wait until the soil is relatively dry – but not completely dry and hard – and test it with a screwdriver. If you can depress the screwdriver an inch or two easily, the soil probably has sufficient aeration. If it takes some bearing down, your lawn could probably use some “aerifying”. Learn more about how to aeate your lawn.

FINAL THOUGHTS: