Non-Chemical Lawn Care
If you are worried about the effects of chemicals on your lawn, Homefocus.com would like to offer an alternative. Grass grows wonderfully without human help, and a somewhat laissez-faire approach to lawn care can do wonders and save you time and money while helping your lawn thick and green.
- Plant “cool-season” grass. It will stay green over the winter months, only going brown in the late summer dry periods, if at all. Don’t plant an exotic breed of grass that will not thrive in the cool Canadian spring and fall.
- Plant in the early part of August, or the later part if you live in a milder climate like Southern Ontario or British Columbia. If you plant in spring your young grass will burn up in the hot and dry part of summer. If August is too late, sod is your best option. It’s more expensive, but it will thrive any time with proper watering.
- Feed the grass properly, with the biggest feedings in the fall. Rake in an inch of compost to provide proper nourishment and improve soil structure. Feed lightly in the spring with corn gluten, between 10 and 20 pounds (4.5-9 kg) should do it. This will protect the grass from dormant weeds, but must be done early. Make sure the corn gluten is the is natural pre-emergent weed and feed, and don’t use it if you are planting new grass seeds, as they will be killed by the weed-suppressant as well.
- Cut your grass to about 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) high. If the grass is in the shade, cut to about 3½ inches (9cm). If you shave the lawn too close, you leave it vulnerable to weeds and pests. If you’ve let it grow very high, cut it longer – never shave off more than a third of the grass’s height.
- Use a mulching mower to return nutrients to the soil. The specialized blades grind up the grass clippings and return them to the ground as a fine mulch rich in nitrogen—no need for fertilizer. Change the mower blade every season. It’s marginally more expensive than getting it sharpened, and you’ll get a much cleaner cut.
- Water early in the day. The mantra for lawn care is “wake up wet, go to bed dry”. Water when a week passes without an inch (2.5cm) of rain. Soak that inch into the grass in one long watering.