Easy Ways to an Environmentally Friendly Lawn

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

The growing emphasis that many homeowners place on keeping their property pristine is reflective of many things. It is quite possible its a reflection of many homeowners that enjoy landscaping, it’s more likely that is is a reflection of the impact that a well-manicured lawn can make on the overall property value of a home. In a study conducted by Michigan State University, a well-manicured lawn was found to increase the value of a home anywhere from 5 to 11 percent. Much of that may be due to curb appeal. A home with curb appeal is one that is appealing to the naked eye, meaning prospective buyers already have a good first impression before even stepping foot inside the home. A home with great curb appeal will attract more prospective buyers  likely adding to the amount homeowners can add to their asking price.

As the popularity of landscaping has grown, so, too, has the popularity of responsible landscaping. Read further to see ways to make your lawn environmentally friendly.

1) Remember something as simple as the seeds can make a big difference- Oftentimes, the region of the country will dictate which choice of grass seed is best for a given lawn. That’s because a grass that is suited to a particular area will require less maintenance  which means less water and less reliance on substances to prevent or fix problems. Using less water is environmentally friendly, as is using less chemicals to solve problems related to the lawn. Consult with your a nursery or garden center for the types of grass seed best suited for your region. Nurseries and Garden Centers that are friends of the agency include: Suncrest Gardens, Dayton Nurseries, Graf Growers Garden Center, Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center and Paul’s Greenhouse. All businesses listed are Dreamscape Vendor Partners and assist the agency!

2) Organic diets can benefit the lawn, too- Many people prefer organic foods because of their taste and smaller carbon footprint than processed and preserved foods. Instead of chemical-based foods and fertilizers, consider an all-natural diet for your lawn. Compost heaps can generate important nutrients for your lawn and plants can be created simply from lawn clippings, raked leaves and the uneaten scraps from your kitchen–like fruit rinds, eggshells, and leftover coffee grounds.

3) Install an irrigation system- While soaking a lawn with water might seem good for the grass, chances are it’s not very good for the environment. An underground irrigation system, however, is designed to water lawns and plants at the root level, strengthening the  grass and plants and saving some water in the meantime. Many systems are timer-operated and water in the early morning or early evening hours when the water will have maximum potential to benefit the lawn. Call our friends at Naragon Companies if this is something you are interested in! Naragon Companies are a vendor partner for our Dreamscape program and they also help Keep Akron Beautiful maintain all of our irrigated Flowerscape beds around the City of Akron!

4) Keep the grass cut at a proper level- Cutting too low is potentially very harmful to the grass. That’s because grass that is cut too short is increasingly susceptible to disease, insects and drought.

Remember to take these steps to make your lawn more environmentally friendly this spring/summer!

Spring Lawn Care

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager, Taken from “Advice from Canton Road Garden Center” – Akron Beacon Journal, 3.29.13

SEEDING- If you are planning to seed a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn, it is best to seed as early as possible. It is important to get seed germinated and growing before trees begin to leef out. This is especially true in shaded areas. Keep the area moist at all times until the roots become established, then you can gradually decrease the frequency of watering. It is best to fertilize the new grass every two to three weeks to grow a stronger root system. The new grass can be mowed when it reaches a height of about 3 inches. Do not let the grass flop over before the first mowing.

REJUVENATING A WEAK LAWN- Your lawn cannot live without air, water and nutrients. When a think layer of thatch builds up, water and fertilizer may run off instead of penetrating the soil. If this is the case with your lawn, aerating or “plugging” the lawn should be done in the spring. An aerator is a small machine that opens up the soil by removing a circular plug about 2 inches in depth. For lawns with severe thatch problems, or if you have heavy or compacted soil, aerate the soil and add a soil conditioner such as gypsum  Dethatching, which is like running a comb through the grass, should not be done in the spring, because too much good grass can be taken in the process. Wait until fall to dethatch your lawn.

CRABGRASS CONTROL On established lawns that you are not overseeding, apply a fertilizer with crabgrass control in early to mid-April. Remember crabgrass seed starts to germinate when the soil temperature reaches 50-58 degrees. Reapply a crabgrass control product in early to mid-June for the second germination of crabgrass.