Last weekend, we mowed our lawn for the first time this year. From the sound of it (and the smell of freshly cut grass), the neighbors are in the full swing of lawn care as well. We have dogs, children, and a desire to be good stewards of our immediate environment, so this year, we’re looking for ways to practice natural spring lawn care. Turns out, there are surprisingly easy and cheap ways to have a natural lawn.
Top ways to have a natural lawn
Natural Weed Control: Let it Grow
Instead of spraying pesticides on the weeds in your lawn, simply set your lawnmower on the highest cut setting (3-4 inches). Why? Because whether it be your grass or the weeds in your grass, whichever plant gets the most sunlight is going to thrive. Want to choke out the weeds? Simply help the grass ‘win.’ It’s really as simple as that, and you’ll enjoy thicker, more plush grass in your yard as well.
Mowing high has other benefits: you’ll offer more shade to the soil, which means it will need less watering, and have thicker turf, which in turn will leave less room for weeds. Note: According to The Daily Green, clover is not a weed, and should be welcome in your lawn.
Water Savings: Deprive the Weeds
Many people — myself included for some time — believe having a lawn necessitates using a lot of water. This is not so. In fact, experts recommend watering less frequently to have a well-cared for lawn. The reason: less frequent watering forces grass roots to dig down deeper (deeper than the weed roots). Then when the top soil becomes dry, the weeds die while the grass continues to thrive. Water only when you start to see signs of need in your lawn, and then water thoroughly. Tip: Place a measuring cup in your watering zone, and make sure it fills with one cup of water during your watering session.
Organic Fertilizing: Less is More
You want to use natural organic fertilizer, but which kind? First, don’t over think it. For starters, leave grass clippings on your lawn. When you bag them and take them away, you leave the top soil exposed. Eventually, it will be dirt, not soil.
When you do fertilize with a natural organic fertilizer, use 1/3 of the amount recommended on the package. Combine this with compost in spring and fall. As for what fertilizer you need, this depends on the problem in your yard. Get the pH balance of your lawn professionally tested, and then use a fertilizer guide to find the correct natural fertilizer for the job. The key to using less fertilizer is to use the exact type you need, and to use it moderately.
Lawn Alternatives: Who Needs Grass?
Do you really need a lawn of green grass? If you live in an area of water shortages or intense summer heat, you may have already switched to a lawn alternative. If not, consider the following:
1. Rock or cactus garden: Done well, a rock garden can be beautiful, and very peaceful to overlook while sitting on an outdoor deck or sunporch. Plus you’re saving even more than a natural lawn care gardener on water usage and upkeep.
2. Natural meadow: I’ve been hearing more and more about converting lawns to meadows lately. Should you create a backyard meadow? Your cost will include wildflower and wild grass seed (one-time only), then light watering and only once-annual mowing. The result is a tranquil space that attracts butterflies and birds, is lovely to see, and easy to maintain.
Easy ways to have a natural lawn
The good news: whether you practice organic gardening, organic lawn care or opt for a lawn alternative, you’ll save time, money, and effort over those struggling to maintain a lawn in synthetic or un-eco-friendly ways. There are many time-saving and money-saving ways to have a natural lawn. At my house, we’ll be putting more emphasis on making our yard more environmentally friendly and on enjoying our yard space than on maintaining how it looks!