Recipe for a Healthy Lawn: How to get your lawn off drugs

What we put on our lawns matter – think of your child rolling in the grass, your dog lounging outside all day, or you enjoying a glass of wine in your favourite corner of the yard at the end of the day. We spend a lot of time up close and personal with our lawns!

Call a truce with dandelions: Dandelions are an important food source for bees and other native pollinators – with their early arrival announcing spring, they are also one of earliest food sources after the long winter. Consider leaving your dandelions instead of removing them!

For a healthy lawn, follow these easy steps:

  1. Mow high (7.5cm or 3 inches)
  2. Water deeply, but not often
  3. De-thatch the lawn in spring to remove any build up of old dead grass, which can keep water and fertilizer from getting to the roots
  4. Apply natural slow-release fertilizer in spring when the grass is actively growing
  5. Hand-weed unwanted weeds with a tools that ensure the root comes out intact. And consider leaving those dandelions in – they provide critical early season forage for native bees!
  6. For badly compacted soil, try aerating (punching holes in the lawn to let oxygen and water get to the roots) – but only early or late in the season, when the lawn can repair itself.
  7. If lawn is thin, over-seed to thicken grass and choke out weeds.
  8. Use environmentally friendly grasses or plants that require no fertilizing, little water, and hardly ever need to be mowed. These include ground clover, native grasses and more – ask your local garden store for advice.

Tired of having to care for your lawn? Consider xeriscaping or turning it into a vegetable garden. Xeriscaping uses drought-tolerant native shrubs and perennials that flourish without water. Or convert your lawn to a vegetable garden and put food your table!

Resources: 

Get Your Lawn Off Drugs by Carole Rubin

How to Get Your Lawn Off Grass  by Carole Rubin

Keeping Food Real Cold climate gardening workshop and webinar series by the Wildsight Elk Valley Branch.

The Organic Lawn Care Manual by Paul Tukey

 


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