Making Green Living Logical


Lawn Care

There are a number of easy and inexpensive ways to care for your lawn that are environmentally responsible.  One is to maintain the grass a little longer.  Keeping it at a height of 2.5 - 3 inches helps the roots grow deeper to better reach water during dry periods and will minimize the need for watering.  It also helps shade the soil surface so weeds have a harder time growing.  The best weed control is a dense, healthy lawn.  The more natural you can leave your home landscape, the easier and less expensive it is to care for.  It will also minimize the need for watering, fertilizing, and the use of pesticides and herbicides.

Fertilizers that contain phosphorus are not to be used on lawns in Minnesota.  The exceptions are when establishing new lawns, or where a soil analysis shows a need for it.  Most of the soils in Minnesota generally contain enough phosphorous naturally, and do not need any added.  Phosphorous-containing fertilizers are very detrimental to lakes and ponds within the watershed.  They can cause severe algal blooms and change the water chemistry, resulting in an unbalanced ecosystem.

Another good way to minimize the environmental impact of your lawn care is to use a reel type lawn mower.  They do not require gasoline or any power other than you pushing it.  Mechanical removal of weeds is also a better option than using herbicides to kill them.  It’s also more effective; pulling the roots up reduces the chance that the weed will grow back.

If possible, compost your clippings and yard wastes (see our Composting  page).  Not only is it a great way to dispose of your yard waste, but if you apply the finished compost to your lawn it will increase the organic material in the soil, which can reduce the amount of water your lawn needs and help you keep your lawn healthier.

Check out the EPA page for info on Composting at Home.

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