“The U.S. National Wildlife Federation reports that on average, suburban lawns receive 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland. That’s right, 10 times as much!
“That works out to 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides applied annually to residential lawns and gardens. But the reality is, you simply don’t need them to have an incredible, healthy lawn! Here is a look at 7 simple secrets to a great, chemical-free lawn,” report the authors of this article at oldworldgardenfarms.com .
Many people nowadays are “re-wilding” their yards by eliminating chemicals, planting native trees and other native plants, and reducing the area of their turfgrass lawns (or doing away with the lawn entirely). However, a lawn too can be eco-friendly, while being safe for humans, pets, and wildlife.
Yes, it is possible to have a lush green lawn that is nontoxic! The #1 secret to a chemical-free lawn is … MOW HIGH. Raise those mower blades!
The authors point out, “Mowing a yard too low causes a whole host of issues. For one, weed seeds have a much easier time finding their way to the soil base to take hold. It also allows the soil to dry out more rapidly on hot, sunny days.
“What is a good height? Anywhere between 3.5 and 4″ high will work best. This allows enough shade to help keep moisture in the soil, and help keep the grass from turning brown.”
(One fellow nature-lover I know even bought taller wheels for his mower, so he could keep his grass mowed at 6″! It was fat, lush, and green.)
The other tips from Old World Garden Farms are simple as well — please read their article and share with people you know who don’t want to give up their lawns! People can have lawns without murdering pollinators, polluting waterways, harming aquatic and marine life, killing the soil biology, or promoting desertification.
And finally, a tip for people who use lawn services, or are trying to get their local government to stop using lawn chemicals on public property:
Make sure the contractors are not being paid in a manner that incentivizes excess mowing. Excess mowing by tractor-mowers is a huge problem. It results in short brown grass with patches of bare earth, not to mention causing soil compaction. (Plus those giant mowers, and the loud edgers and leafblowers that inevitably accompany them, assault neighborhoods with noise pollution and gas fumes.)
Make sure your lawn service, or city grasscutting contractors, get paid by the week or the month or something, as opposed to only getting paid per time that they actually mow. (I don’t know which is the case in my city; I need to research this. But the grass on City-owned lots in my area gets so scalped, I suspect the latter is the case.)
Insist that they mow high — 3.5 or 4 — and reasure them they will be paid the same even if they don’t end up mowing as often. Basically, pay them for their care, not just their labor.