It is easy to assume that landscapers are a part of “green” industry. The vision of working outdoors, tending to nature, and planting trees and shrubs seems green enough. Unfortunately, many lawn care companies can do more “ungreen” damage in a day than a single person could do in a lifetime.
Client demand for weed-free lawns often results in chemically-dependent landscaping. Chemicals are used abundantly on lawns and landscapes. There are pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and miticides. There are regulations requiring landscapers to have a license before mixing or applying pesticides. Unfortunately, there are many instances of unlicensed and uneducated applicators, and not enough inspectors to keep watch of infractions.
Is it possible to have a lovey, low-maintenance lawn and still be “green”? Yes. However, a shift in thinking is required to break the cycle of applying dangerous chemicals.
If you prefer to use a lawn care service, search for those that specialize in natural, organic and non-toxic applications. For the do-it yourselfer, start by looking for what is useful in your yard. Do you have dandelions, clover or plantains? These are edible and medicinal weeds. Research natural alternatives to chemicals – ones that work well and are not harmful to ground water, lakes and streams. For example, one way to combat grubs is to use microscopic worms called nematodes. Nematodes are inexpensive, readily available and easy to apply. Follow up with a milky spore application and you will be in control of Japanese Beetle Grubs for years.
Turf can be tilled with organic matter to a depth of seven inches and then seeded to allow the roots to grow to a more sustainable depth. We did this at our home and now enjoy many benefits. Our lawn requires no additional water other than what rain provides to remain green, we apply no chemicals and very little organic fertilizer to keep it healthy. Our lawn is mostly healthy turf, has an acceptable level of weeds and very low maintenance.
Best of all, its chemical-free and family friendly.