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home>>family>>gardening 2>>sustainable summer lawns

Less is More: Sustainable Summer Lawns


(ARA) - Getting outside and enjoying your lawn is one of the greatest joys of home ownership. Empty nesters, singles and those with kids all share the same thought: What can I do to have a great yard without being a slave to it? It's easy…and less is more!

Well-maintained lawns give children (and adults) an enjoyable playing surface. Falls and spills are less dangerous. Sports professionals find that well-maintained turf lessens player's injuries. In fact, 91 percent of nearly 1,500 National Football League players surveyed in 2004 feel that artificial turf contributes significantly to injury

When the right elements come together, you can be assured of a healthy, beautiful lawn.

Turf types. Make sure your lawn contains species that do well in your area. Bluegrass, fescue and ryes do well in the mid- to northern regions of the United States and throughout Canada. Zoysia does well in the mid-regions, and various Bermuda grasses, St. Augustine, and bahia species do well in the South.

Deep and infrequent watering. Water only when necessary, but make sure you water deeply, all the way to the root. If you water lightly and frequently, roots will not grow deeply into the soil. These lawns will then be droughty and problematic if you miss waterings.

Carefully fertilize. Experts agree that fertilizer that contains large amounts of fast-release nitrogen stresses lawns. This pushes grass to grow faster than normal. The added stress then uses up precious moisture. Excessive nitrogen also exposes lawns to various disease and insect problems. According to Dr. George Snyder, professor emeritus University of Florida, "Using a slow release organic nitrogen fertilizer such as Milorganite 6-2-0 allows lawns to grow to their potential. It also doesn't stress lawns during hot summer months."

Recycle your nutrients. Mulching your clippings reduces the amount of fertilizer you need to add to your lawn. All the phosphorus, potassium and iron in this mulch will be recycled. While a portion of the nitrogen will be lost, up to one-half can be recycled. By applying environmentally friendly organic nitrogen fertilizer you will replace this lost nitrogen.

Clean Mowing. Mow your lawn on a regular basis. Only remove 1/3 of the top at any one time. And mow high, removing only leaves and not stems. Make sure your lawn mower blades are sharp so they cut, rather than tear, grass. Cut grass heals quickly, reducing damage caused by insects and disease. Plus, it just looks better. Dull blades tear grass, which looks unsightly and takes more time to heal.

A healthy lawn will trap dust and pollen blown across the yard by the wind, cleaning the air and your sinuses; and improve water quality by trapping the pollutants that flow from gutters and driveways, reducing the amount of nutrients that can leach and run off to pollute natural waters. Data from the University of Wisconsin shows that a well-maintained, actively growing lawn actually loses fewer nutrients due to runoff than a non-fertilized one. This is due to actively growing grass taking up nutrients, not allowing them to leach, run off and pollute.

Cool Your House

A healthy lawn can also be a money saver. Each day for an average house, the front lawn provides nearly 10 tons of air conditioning at virtually no cost. A healthy lawn absorbs heat, not reflecting it back into your house. It also transfers moisture back into the air, which gives the area a cooler feel.

You do not need to sacrifice a nice yard while being environmentally careful. By creating a self sustaining environment in you yard, you encourage kids to play, economically create a healthy environment and increase the value to your property

Enjoy yourself this summer!

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About The Author

Courtesy of ARA Content
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