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How to safely care for your lawn

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Green up the grass

The summer months often mean spending a lot of time tending to your lawn. This usually entails using fertilizers, pesticides and gas-powered lawn mowers. Instead of using these environmentally harmful items, take the following advice from Natural Health magazine and create an eco-friendly yard you can be proud of.

Green Lawn


conserve water

According to the EPA, the best time to water your lawn is in the morning. Since the sun and heat are at it's strongest during the middle of the day, the water will evaporate before it is able to nourish your grass and if you water in the evening, the water will linger overnight and produce mold. So get up early and give your grass an morning drink.

Another way to conserve water is to use "gray water,' which is the wastewater from your shower, washing machine or sink. While you should check with your local government first, you can collect this water by connecting the discharge hose of your washing machine to a 50-gallon drum. You can also collect rain water in a barrel and use this to hydrate your grass.

grow locally

Plants and grasses are more likely to thrive without pesticides if they are local to your area. Natural Health's advice for different parts of the country include:

Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye grass and fairway wheatgrass should be used if you live in the north.

Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass and seashore peplum are suggested if you live in the south.

Grasses that do best in moderate "transition" climates, such as buffalo grass and little bluestem should be used in centrally located states.

electric or hand-powered mowers

As a gas-powered mower emits as much pollution in one hour as driving a car for 100 miles, using an electric or hand-powered mower is a more eco-friendly way to care for your grass. An electric mower is 97% cleaner than a gas powered one and since a hand powered machine uses no energy at all, it's the best option when your grass is shorter than three inches or your lawn is smaller than 8,000 square feet.

organic fertilizer

Organic fertilizer helps plants and grass retrain water, thereby protecting your lawn from drought. The nutrients in this fertilizer resist leaching, enabling them to stay in the soil until the grass absorbs them. One tip Natural Health suggests is to plant white clover in the grass. This will generate nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient of soil health and will keep your grass green during droughts.

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