A Healthy Lawn, A Healthy Environment
“Green” choices for a green lawn
A healthy lawn is the ultimate welcome mat. Of course, we all want our home’s welcome mat to share an inviting message to those it greets.
A well maintained lawn that is managed using an environmentally responsible approach not only communicates your appreciation for your own yard, it also expresses your respect for the environment. According to an EPA study, healthy turf grass is highly efficient at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, a process that helps to clean the air.
When maintaining your lawn’s lush appearance, you have many options to consider. Just like any other choice you make, it is important to weigh the impacts your lawn care decisions may have on the environment.
— IMPROVES AIR QUALITY.
Grass can absorb carbon dioxide, car exhaust, soot, dust and other airborne pollutants.
— HELPS LOWER SURFACE TEMPERATURE.
On a hot day, healthy grass can be up to 30° cooler than exposed soil, concrete and asphalt.
— IMPROV ES WATE R QUALITY.
Grass acts like a filter that slows water runoff, allowing it to seep into the groundwater supply.
— IMPROVES SOIL QUALITY.
Healthy roots help to anchor soil to the ground, preventing erosion of the soil’s beneficial top layer.
— ADDS BEAUTY.
Aside from the obvious beauty grass provides, lawns help to soften light and reduce glare.
Simple Steps to Keep Your Lawn Healthy
Prevention is the best medicine, or in this case, it’s the best lawn care practice. Like with your health, it’s much easier to prevent an illness than to treat it — and prevention is typically more eco-friendly to boot. A healthy lawn can out- compete weeds, tolerate insects, ward off disease, and retain beneficial moisture and nutrients better than an unhealthy one.
Matt Lindner, Director of SavaLawn’s provided the following tips to create a thick, healthy lawn that is naturally more resistant to issues:
1. Develop healthy soil. Soil is the foundation for a healthy lawn. Three key measures of soil health are fertility, acidity and compaction. A soil analysis can provide an accurate picture of your soil’s health and will help your lawn care specialist determine an appropriate program.
2. Select the right grass for your location. Different varieties can thrive under different conditions. The one that suits your needs and that likes the environmental conditions of your area will work best. Factors to consider include climate, precipitation, light, pests, maintenance and the degree of wear your turf will undergo.
3. Water efficiently. Every lawn’s water needs are different depending on the rainfall quantities and the soil conditions of the region. The rule of thumb is to water deeply and infrequently. This will help your lawn develop deep roots making it stronger and less susceptible to the effects of drought.
4. Practice good mowing habits. Mow often with a high, sharp blade. Ideal length depends on the species, but typically 2.5 to 3.5 inches is best (but never remove more than one-third of the blade height each time you mow). Longer grass blades have more surface area which enables them to take in more sunlight. By mowing with a sharp blade, you will ensure a clean cut rather than a tear, which will help to keep some diseases at bay.
5. Keep thatch layer in check. The layer of dead plant material between the blades and the soil is called thatch. If it gets too thick, it can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the soil. Earthworms and microorganisms naturally work to control the thatch layer, but sometimes a little help is necessary, and can be accomplished with raking or core aerating.
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