Ever notice how hospitals and nursing facilities all have a large expanse of green lawn? The reason is that green is a restful, non-stressful color that helps folks heal quicker. Each year consumers spend a ton of money on mega-tons of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides to capture that restful green for their home lawn. However, reports indicate that chemicals, lawns, and family safety are not a good mix.
According to the United States Environmental Pollution Agency, 95% percent of lawn care chemicals are possible or probable carcinogens. Aside from the fact these agents endanger our families and pollute both ground and surface water supplies, they also kill the microbiological colonies that live in the soil and keep our lawns healthy.
Your lawn needs at least six inches of good top soil (ten is better) to be at its best. You don't have to dig up your lawn to achieve this goal. Start in the fall by top-dressing your lawn with one-third inch of finely ground compost- fine enough so that it will fall in between the blades of grass. Use the flat side of a garden rake to level it.
Come spring, aerating your lawn gives circulation to roots and the tiny organisms that work to keep your grass healthy. The best type of aeration is the type that leaves those ugly plugs of grass scattered about your lawn. However, the plugs quickly decompose and further enrich your topsoil.
Aerate your lawn at least once a season using either a mechanical or a hand aeration tool, depending on the amount of exercise you want to get and the size of your lawn. Small lawns can even be aerated by walking over them (heel to toe) while wearing a pair of spiked shoes. Aside from breaking up soil clumps, aeration also provides moisture retention and improves air circulation.
Another action you can take in natural lawn care is to leave grass clippings in the grass. Mow high with a 2 ½ to 3 inch cut, but never cutting more than one-third of the blade. Short grass clippings quickly decay and enrich your soil with nitrogen and other nutrients.
Reseeding weak and bare areas of your lawn gives seed the time to establish roots after weeds are dormant or dead. Set your mower about ½-inch lower to help you find spots that need reseeding. Till or spade those areas, work in some compost, and rake it level. Reseed with a premixed blend that includes seeds for sun, shade, and wear tolerance to balance the strengths and weaknesses of your lawn.
Besides resulting in a healthier, more luxurious lawn, fall reseeding gives your lawn an edge over weeds. In fact, those bare spots that low mowing uncovered were probably caused by weeds that either died or went dormant. Reseeding those spots in the fall gives new grass time to establish roots, making it fit competition for any weeds that rise in the spring.
Whether reseeding or not, don't forget to water your lawn in the fall. As always, water deeply. One inch of water will soak down into your topsoil, encouraging roots to grow down to find it. If you're using a sprinkling system, a good way to measure is to dig a small plastic cup into a low-traffic area of your lawn.
As gardeners the environment is of major concern. So please use natural pesticides. Let's try to save our beautiful planet for our children
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