To wean your lawn off junk food is good for the planet, good for wildlife and will also result in a nicer lawn. Traditional lawns are in the words of some, ‘an environmental nightmare’. Most are made with massive amounts of chemicals and require herbicides that use fossil fuels to cause fertilizer run-off that runs into our oceans.
But lawns are good for dogs, children and seniors. Chemicals on conventional lawns are not safe when noses and crawling limbs are near the ground, and dogs that live near lawns sprayed with chemicals, have higher rates of bladder cancer. See the post on how to make your garden safe for pets (wildflower lawns may be toxic to pets).
How to Look After an Organic Lawn
- Good brands of grass for an organic lawn are rye and red fescue (can both withstand drought) and clover (this is not a grass, but contains flowers that bees loves).
- Rake the lawn in spring to remove thatch, and leave this out for birds to build their nests. Clippings can be put in the compost bin (not too many, or it will go slimy). Tumbling compost bins are good to compost grass clippings.
- Keep pets away from freshly-seeded lawn (embedded seeds can mean surgery). Always check dog’s ears after walking through long grass, and see your vet immediately, if you suspect an adder bite.
- Most lawns can survive a few days without water. When you do water, use a good water butt like Even Greener or The Original Water Butt Co (with pet safety locks, rather than open barrels) to water with a can, to avoid using fresh water from the tap.
- If pets pee on the lawn (females tend to always use the same spot), just flush immediately with water and you should avoid brown spots.
- If you have moss, aerate the lawn and raise the blades on the mower. Remove weeds naturally with a knife and just leave ants, they will disappear when the weather cools.
- Moles are not easy to send elsewhere, but the earth they leave on top makes excellent potting soil. You can try sonic devices, they may sometimes work. But don’t harm them, they are God’s creatures and do nothing other than make mole hills! Gardening organically elsewhere will attract creatures that eat creatures like leatherjackets.
Mowing Your Organic Lawn
Some people prefer to use a manual mower, as it’s better for the planet and good exercise. Just ensure you choose a good brand, to avoid tearing the grass. . Just be sure to If you can, use a manual mower. choose a good brand. Lawnmower Larry has a good guide on how to choose one, with recommended brands.
Avoid strimmers. They cause awful injuries to hedgehogs, tortoises etc. Just use a quality pair of garden shears, and get some exercise too. If you do use a strimmer, then always gently sweep long grass with a broom beforehand, so creatures can escape.
- Organic Lawn Care shows how to grow a lawn the natural way. Growing an organic lawn is cheaper and less water-intensive than a conventional lawn. Howard Garrett begins with the soil, and shows how to establish a healthy habitat for grass. Then he discusses various turf grasses including ryegrass and fescue.
- Lawns into Meadows is a book by landscape designer Owen Wormser, who builds a case for growing more meadows. If you don’t use your lawn, allowing it to be reclaimed by native grasses and flowers can create healthy habitats for birds and insects. Meadows introduce ecological biodiversity with little effort, and also take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. They can also soothe the soul, and produce natural beauty year after year. The book shows how to grow your own organic and sustainable meadow, with before-and-after photos to inspire. See the post on how to make your garden safe for pets (wildflower lawns may be toxic).