Who doesn’t love summer? It’s practically a nationwide celebration taking place in every backyard, especially for those of us in the Seattle area, who’re used to being doused by rain almost daily. Here in the Northwest, we are most grateful for those rare days of pure sunshine.
I’m excitedly anticipating the days when temperatures have warmed up enough to go barefoot, wiggle my toes in our emerald lawn, cuddle the kids and roughhouse with the dog under the great blue sky.
Get ready to enjoy the season to the fullest, by showing your yard a little TLC. Below are a handful of environmentally-sensible lawn care solutions that’ll keep you and your family happy, healthy and surrounded by all things lush and green.
Avoid chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers. These poisons can affect your family through direct contact or by breathing in the dust and vapors. You can also, unknowingly carry these chemicals inside the house on your clothes, toys and shoes. Seek out natural alternatives – and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The folks at your nursery will be happy to make suggestions.
Reduce air pollution by trying out an electric or push mower instead of a carbon-intensive gas powered one. And set your mower to the proper height setting. If it’s set too low, you’re exposing the soil to sunlight and removing stored nutrients in leaf blades. This results in more weeds. Cool weather grasses should be mowed at a height of 2.5-3.5 inches. And warm season grasses should be maintained at 1.5-2.5 inches.
Feed your lawn. It’s important to fertilize your lawn in the springtime to replenish the food reserves your yard uses while dormant in winter. Fertilizing your lawn fuels grass into a phase of rapid growth. If you’ve been composting your kitchen waste, you can use compost to fertilize both your lawn and garden, for a healthy lawn that won’t be overrun by weeds. If you’re not keen on composting, try a packaged organic fertilizer. Want to learn more about composting? Here’s some good information from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Water your soil, but only when it’s needed for preservation. Try watering in the morning to lessen evaporation. Leaving your grass wet at night can encourage a wide range of fungal diseases as well as weeds that attract pests. When watering, soak the soil just enough to reach the grass roots. A simple trick to tell when you’ve watered enough is to set a baking pan near the sprinkler. When the pan is full, your soil should be properly saturated.
Start taking care of your lawn naturally and enjoy a healthy backyard all summer long.