A green lawn seems redundant, right? Short of a brown lawn (and no one wants that), what other kind is there? Yet many property owners are concerned that choosing environmentally friendly lawn products and services will leave their yards without the desirable weed-free thickness and (yes) greenness. Food for thought: Healthy grass provides plump worms and other insects for bird consumption. It also converts carbon to oxygen and absorbs air-born pollutants. Nice perks - especially since an organic lawn can do all of these things even more efficiently.
Tips for getting started with eco lawn care include choosing the right grass for your climate (Kentucky bluegrass works well in the North; Bermudagrass is a good choice for many Southern states), mow on a high setting since longer leaf surface can take in more sunlight and produce a strong root system, and mulch the lawn with its own clippings. Then, it’s on to green products.
According to The National Gardening Association, between 1998 and 2003 the number of households purchasing natural fertilizers jumped from 2.5 million to 11.7 million - often because homeowners didn’t want their children and pets coming into contact with dangerous chemicals; nor did they want to track such treatments into their homes. Woodstream’s Ringer Lawn Restore ($42.39) is a slow-release organic lawn fertilizer that encourages thick, green grass growth. A 40-pound bag covers 5,000 square feet. The fertilizer contains ingredients like poultry feather meal, bone meal, soybean meal and soil microbes; material safety data on the product reports no carcinogenicity or potential health hazards and it’s approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute.
Even the lushest lawns have the occasional uninvited visitor: Crabgrass and dandelions make the least-wanted list. Skip the scary backpack of pesticide and go after weeds with Weed-A-Tak from Natura ($12.99). The powerful spray bottle promises to take out annual weeds and grasses in a single treatment and perennials within two or three treatments. But for all that muscle (it can be used on broadleaf weeds, grasses, vines, brush and poison ivy), the organic herbicide could almost second as a salad dressing. The non-toxic, biodegradable active ingredients include citric acid, clove leaf oil and cinnamon oil.
If it’s not crabgrass threatening the yard, it’s pests. Fireants and caterpillars take a toll on lawns and gardens; mosquitoes and fleas annoy and harm the human and animal inhabitants. Deal with all of these critters with a natural pest control like Green Light Lawn & Garden Spray with Spinosad ($11.72). Spinosad is derived from a naturally-occurring soil-dwelling bacteria that is fermented. While it’s harmful when ingested by predatory insects, it has little or no effects on...