(CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — Many people are rethinking how they care for their yard by cutting back on lawn chemicals and fertilizers. Consumer Reports has some easy strategies to improve the health of your lawn and make it safer for your family and the environment.
And Consumer Reports says it’s not so complicated. Let’s start with your lawn.
“It may seem counterintuitive but cut back on watering your lawn. Because watering less will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots, and develop resistance to drought,” said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor.
And because watering at night can actually promote fungus, water only during the early morning. And while it gets a bad rap, clover is especially good for your lawn, because it adds nitrogen and keeps other lawn weeds at bay.
When it’s time to mow, CR lawn care experts advise you keep the grass a little taller -- about 3 or 4 inches. Keep the blades on your mower sharp and use the mulching mode, which will cut the grass into fine clippings and deposit them back into the soil.
Grass clippings actually contain many of the same nutrients found in chemical-based fertilizers. And CR says, when it comes to planting your garden, embrace native plants.
“Native plants have evolved to thrive exactly where they are. And they’ll attract local birds, and beneficial insects and pollinators,” said Roberts.
And finally, if you have the space, add a compost pile or bin to recycle table scraps and garden waste. You’ll be rewarded with nutrient rich compost that your plants and lawn will love.
Keep in mind that the needs of lawns vary, depending on climate, sun exposure, the type of soil and grass you have. Consider reaching out to a local co-op extension service for advice tailored to your lawn.