Monday, May 4, 2009

Greening Your Lawn the "Green" Way

We have all been driving down the road and spotted up ahead a miraculous, green, thick gorgeous lawn that we admire and wish we had at home. There are simple, healthy (for you and your lawn) and environmentally friendly ways to obtain this same look in your own backyard with minimal effort.

Tip 1: Keep it high. The ideal height for turf grass is 2.5-3.5 inches depending on the species of grass. The longer blade of grass allows it to absorb more light and grow deeper, stronger roots as well as cool the ground, reducing evaporation. Longer blades of grass also reduce pest damage. This doesn’t mean don’t mow as often, it means mow often AND readjust the height of the blade on your mower.

Tip 2: Properly irrigate. Soaker hoses and trickle irrigation ensure water reaches the roots, encouraging deep roots and discouraging evaporation. Watering your plants early in the morning or in the evening will also reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. Tip 3: Don’t rake up your grass clippings, leave them on the lawn for a great natural source of nitrogen, instead of buying synthetic fertilizers.

Tip 3: Maintain a health thatch layer. Thatch is the layer of dead plant material between grass blades and the soil. If the thatch layer is over one half inch it can prevent water and nutrients from reaching plant roots. In a healthy lawn worms and other microorganisms decompose the thatch layer. By aerating your lawn with a core aerator you can greatly improve the health of your lawn.

Tip 4: Use integrated pest management techniques (IPM). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), IPM is the effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM carefully manages the biological, cultural and chemical control methods to get the best long term results.

No matter what your lawn care needs and goals are, visit Cornell’s IPM website for more information on “green” lawn care techniques.

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