Honestly, even “natural” lawn care practices can cause you, your children, and your pet some amount of harm. This is particularly true of pets if they ingest grass, yard clippings, or the product itself right after application. You can 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 of the newly applied yard for the recommended amount of time. This may mean applying product on one part of your yard while keeping your pet and children on an untreated area and then reversing the process. You can always plan to walk your dog for the day or two after treatment to decrease the potential for harm if a whole yard treatment is your easiest option.
Suggestions for yard maintenance that should be low impact to your pet and family as well as to the environment include:
- 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 thrive in your region
This is more helpful for those with a dirt patch that they want to fill with grass rather than those over seeding an already established lawn. Think about how you are planning on using and maintaining the space while you read over the descriptions of available grasses. You may even 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 stamp size yard than an acre or hundred, but it is effective and does not involve chemicals.
- Feed the soil
This item ties back to soil testing. Soil that is full of nutrients leads 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 an apparatus that attaches to a garden hose, like those used to apply liquid fertilizer.
For more information, take a look at the following sites:
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
Invited post written by Jeanette Miller of 42morrow
Be Green Today…
….For a Greener Tomorrow