Honestly, even “natural” lawn care practices can cause your pets or children some amount of harm if they ingest grass, yard clippings, or the product itself right after application.
You can be safe and still have a luscious, green yard by using the least harmful products and incorporating a few new habits. The most important step is to keep your pet and children off the newly applied yard for the recommended amount of time. This may mean applying product on one part of the yard while keeping your pet and children on an untreated area and then reverse the process. You can always plan to walk your dog and enjoy indoor activities with the children for the day or two after treatment to decrease the potential for harm if a whole yard treatment is your easiest option. This is especially important if you apply, or have a company apply treatments that contain chemicals for which studies indicate potential downstream harm. Guest blogger Jeanette Miller of 42morrow gives some helpful hints for a safer, greener lawn.
Some suggestions for yard maintenance that should be low impact to your pet as well as to the environment:
- Soil test your yard
Many states have Cooperative Extension offices that will complete a soil test for you at no or little charge and offer a straightforward summary of the results so you only put what is needed on your yard.
- Research the types of grass that are best for your region
This is more helpful for those with a dirt patch that they want to fill with grass rather than over seeding an already established lawn. Think about how you are planning on using and maintaining the space while you read over the descriptions. You may decide to plant shrubs or other groundcover that does not require weekly maintenance.
- Redefine your definition of a weed
Some clover isn’t bad and people do even add dandelion greens to their salads. Depending on the weed, if you catch it when there is only one, pull it out quickly before it goes to seed or snap off the flower head before it goes to seed. Much easier to do on a small postage-size stamp of a yard than an acre or hundred, but it is effective and does not involve chemicals.
- Feed the soil
This item ties back to the soil test. Soil full of nutrients lead to a healthy root system for the grass. If the grass is healthy and full, there will be no room for weed seeds to take hold. Think about making compost tea. You can spray it on the yard using the same apparatus as some liquid fertilizer that hook onto a garden hose.
The following sites can provide additional information.
- www.RodaleInstitute.org: search “lawn care” Nice article – Organic vs. Chemical Lawn Care: Which one leads to healthier grass?
- http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp: quick wit and good, practical solutions
- http://www.thedailygreen.com: search for “21 Expert Organic Lawn Care Tips”
- http://bodynsoil.com/blog/2013/05/organic-lawn-care-tips/: short and to the point
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“be green today for a greener tomorrow ”