Archives for July 2013

Natural Lawn Care

Grass-cycling

Leave the grass-clippings on your lawn after you mow and be a grass-cycler!  Any lawn mower will cut clippings short enough to grass-cycle. You should only take 1/3 of the grass blade height when you mow so that the clippings are not too long.  If clumping occurs simply run over the clippings a second time, or rake clumps out into a thin layer.  Grass clippings are rich in nutrients that are returned to the soil about 14 days after you mow.

Fertilizers

Lawns need fertilizing in order to remain healthy, lush and green.  Nitrogen produces rich green growth, phosphorus stimulates root growth while potassium fortifies the plants.  Your own compost, composted leaves and composted manures are good sources of natural fertilizer for your lawn.  Avoid chemical fertilizers  but  if you do buy commercial products, try to choose  those that contain only natural source products.

Water 101!

Homeowners’ know that water around a home can lead to problems including; leaks, flooding and mold growth – all problems that negatively impact a property’s value.  When we don’t manage the water on our properties with care, we also run the risk of damaging the environment.  Runoff water that doesn’t get absorbed into the ground finds its way into storm sewers or directly into waterways – carrying sediment that can clog streams and chemicals from cars, fertilizers and other human activities that damage aquatic ecosystems.

One of the biggest problems with runoff is that it has nowhere to go if the ground around your home is covered by hard surfaces like cement or asphalt.

Every homeowner can help by simply making use of rainwater!

  • Consider replacing impervious surfaces around your home with something the water can seep through to enter the soil below.  Paving stones or interlock bricks are good alternatives to concrete or asphalt.
  • Make your yard a sponge.  When beautifying your yard, consider using plants native to your area – they develop a more extensive root system and absorb more runoff from the lawn.
  • Planting trees is also helpful:, their immense root systems effectively absorb water over a large area.  But, only a small amount of water goes for producing food.  The rest is returned to the atmosphere through a process called ‘transpiration’.  A mature white birch tree with approximately 200,000 leaves can give off as much as 3,400 litres (900 gallons) of water throughout a summer day!
  • Bare soil can be as hard as concrete.  If you have bare areas but don’t want to create more lawn or garden beds, cover the ground with mulch, wood chips or gravel.  This will help control runoff by allowing water to seep into the soil rather than running over it.
  • Litres of water come off your roof over the course of a year.  Divert it for your own use.  Use rain barrels to collect water then use it to water your garden, flower boxes or deck planters.
  • Extending leaders from downspouts effectively diverts water into garden or shrub beds or out onto the lawn keeping a tremendous amount of runoff out of the local drainage systems.

Watering 101

Water your lawn deeply enough to soak the roots. This promotes deep root growth which increases its ability to resist drought.  Whether using water from your rain barrel or sprinkler, water slowly so that it penetrates the lawn rather than running of onto your driveway or sidewalk.

  • It is best to water in the morning.