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Be Green, Truly Green: 11 easy tips for an organic lawn

Yesterday, April 22 was the celebratioin of 39th Earth Day and media is flooded with zillion of green tips. Before delving into this sea of tips, it maybe good time to reflect on how far you have already gone to become environment-friendly or, as it is popular to call it now, green. Ponder, about how close you've grown to Nature in all aspects of your everyday life: in your food, in your beauty products and in your driving habits. Celebrate your progress first, and then think about what else you can do for the Earth and yourself!.

In this short article I want talk about what I think is the most important green move after organic beauty care and organic food. It's about what most of us have - the lawns on our property.. Green and lush and what you (or your favorite landscaping company) put on your lawn to give it this beautiful emerald green hue you are so proud of. The media often presents being green as doing the Earth a favor, being utterly altruistic. In truth, if you consider that you live on this beautiful planet, nothing could be more selfish -in an extraordinarily good way- than switching from being polluting to being green. Saving the planet means saving yourself, it's a win-win situation! So start with your lawn, it's important for you, for the kids, for the honeybees and for the Earth.

Green lawn, healthy family

In most of the western world, a sparkling green spotless lawn is the symbol of an impeccable and successful family, like the white picket fences have become a symbol of property ownership. Both are key components of the American dream. Then, maybe it is time to reevaluate the real price of the symbols of success in America. Why? Because behind this impeccable green lawn are utterly toxic chemicals! After all a green lawn isn't green at all, in fact many of them are toxic.

What about yours?

Despite the multitude of scientific proofs, demonstrating the devastating effects of pesticides on our health (cancer and infertility among others), our children health (ADHD and autism) and honeybees (colony collapse disease), people continue to use these highly toxic chemicals on their lawns to make them shining green. One argument we often hear is that it's OK to use them, as they are pretty much the same as those used for farming and homeowners only need to cover small areas. And this is true, these toxic pesticides are indeed mostly the same as the ones used in conventional farming. But what most people ignore is that on lawns these pesticides are applied in much higher concentrations, than on crops. Each and every year, homeowners apply 90 million pounds of pesticides on their lawns, and that's not counting golf courses! For your own sake, your kids' health and your pets' health and to save the honeybees that pollinate staple crops, please have a second look at what makes your lawn so green, so sickly green. And while at it, maybe ask your golf course to go green as well - truly green.

Keep away from pesticides, they're bad for everyone.

11 tips for a vibrantly green organic lawn

The organic lawn is not a ton of work-it really isn't-but it requires more understanding. says Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual. Organic lawn care is a safe, effective and responsible alternative to pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers. Advanced organic products can be used to support truly healthy and vibrantly green and safe lawn. Below are a few helpful tips to start and maintain your organic lawn if you are not there yet:
  1. Mow high. This is one of the most crucial steps you can take to improve the health of your lawn. A lawn mowed high strengthens the grass by providing shade to the roots, and preventing drying of the roots. Moreover, longer grass blades discourage invasion by weeds and insects. Set your mower at 2.5-3". Leave clippings on the lawn for natural fertilization.
  2. Use high quality organic fertilizer that provide vital nutrients without "salting and drying" the grass and soil. They support the plant's health and growth and help fight off pests and disease.
  3. Apply liquid seaweed, which is loaded with trace elements like iron, zinc and magnesium to support plant health and root development and help fight off fungal diseases.
  4. Water early as late watering encourages fungal invasion unless the weather is really hot. Be conservative as we collectively use up to 7 billion gallons of water a day on landscape irrigation, a third of all residential usage. Up to half of it is wasted due to evaporation, wind and overwatering...
  5. Control weeds naturally. Improving lawn health will greatly reduce weeds as grass can better compete against aggressive weeds. Weeds can be removed by hands or you can use quality organic products to control safely them without intoxicating your lawn.
  6. Thatch or rake and aerate. Thatch is compacted dead grass and grass clipping which interfere with water reaching the roots. Aeration removes pugs of dirt, helps increase water retention and supports air circulation to grass roots.
  7. Control bugs naturally. Your best friends are birds as they eat up bugs. So provide a birdbath and bird houses to welcome them. There are many other ways to efficiently control bugs. Look at our resources at the end of this article.
  8. Overseed. Sprinkle grass seeds in the Spring and Fall. This will help fill in bare spots and choke out weeds.
  9. Check your soil pH and add Lime or Sulfur if needed.
  10. Use compost! This is the best way to treat your lawn with an organic makeover as it fortifies the soil and keeps your plants healthy. Do it once or twice a year, June to August. If you cannot produce your own compost, buy horse, cow or chicken manure and spread it as a topdress.
  11. Use native plants, which are more adapted to your area, easier to maintain and more resistant.
Enjoy the Spring and your kids and pets playing safely in the yard! Happy Earth Day!