The New American Lawn
The Garden Club of America advocates The New American Lawn, a lawn that uses sound ecology and is therefore safe for people, pets and the environment. The New American Lawn does not require pesticides or unnatural fertilizers. It needs less maintenance, watering and use of gas-powered lawn care tools.
In our last edition we gave you tips about mowing, fertilizing and using grass clippings to protect and feed your grass. Here are some more suggestions to help your lawn be lovely and safe.
It is time to change our ideal for lawns. It is unnatural to impose monoculture in nature. Variety is natural, so allow it in your lawn. Let clover and violets grow among your grass. Clover is a "nitrogen fixer" and is helpful to the growth of plants nearby. Even the small blooms of violets provide nectar to beneficial insects and birds. Let moss grow in shady spots. You will save mowing time and have something green and soft.
Natural care for your lawn will not eliminate weeds completely, but you can keep them under control with spot removal and the help of organic pre-emergent weed killers like corn gluten. When dandelions grow, pick the blooms before they seed to avoid spread. Mow regularly and organically fertilize your grass, and it will crowd out many weeds such as crabgrass.
Aim to water your lawn as little as possible. Grass seed mixes that are suited to our area should yield grass that needs little watering beyond what nature provides. In most cases if your lawn turns brown in late summer, this is a natural dormancy. Your lawn will revive when it rains. Summer dormancy is a natural rest time for your grass. Look at it as a blessing; you won't need to mow as often, saving gasoline and time.
If you must water your lawn, only do so in the early morning to limit evaporation, and do it as infrequently as possible. The more you water, the more your grass will grow and the more you must mow. Also, try to choose native plants for borders and ground cover as much as possible, and your lawn will require less water.
The best time to reseed your lawn is the fall because the cooler days are ideal for grass seed germination and deeper root growth. When buying seed, ask the nursery professional to help you choose a grass seed mix suited to the area. Choose grass seed that includes a variety of grass types, including clover. Make sure the seed you choose includes Endophytic Fungi, a natural repellent of some lawn pests like chinch bugs.
For more information about caring for your lawn, please refer to the Garden Club of America's website at www.gcamerica.org/pamphlets/lawnbrochure.html