Gardening

8 steps to a healthy, eco-friendly lawn

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Gardening

8 steps to a healthy, eco-friendly lawn

Remember: None of these measures will work without enough topsoil and the right species of grass for your region. And eat your dandelions, children: a cup of chopped dandelion leaves has almost 40 per cent as much calcium as a cup of milk, plus plenty of other nutrients.

1. Aerate the soil, either by using an aeration tool or a garden fork or by walking around with those weird spiked shoes available from garden suppliers.

2. Apply an organic fertilizer in spring (before growth) and fall.

3. Mow up to three inches high to give the grass the opportunity to shade out weedlings. (Never cut off more than one-third of the lawn's height.) While you're at it, save money on a gym membership and invest in a nonpolluting push mower.

4. Recycle the clippings as mulch by leaving them on the lawn; if the grass clumps, just rake it around.

5. Instead of spraying poison, remove weeds, roots and all, by hand. Too lazy or decrepit to get down on your knees? Check out gardening catalogues for some nifty weed-extracting devices.

6. Water deeply and early in the day and only when the grass appears to need it.

7. Put up a bird feeder to encourage visits from winged pest-eaters.

8. Use a soil-testing kit or have the soil tested to make sure it's around 6.5 pH, which most grasses prefer, and amend if needed.

Read more:
8 essential garden tools
Easy tips on eco-friendly gardening
Home project: Paint your plastic lawn chairs

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Excerpted from Hey Mr. Green: Sierra Magazine's Answer Guy Tackles Your Toughest Green Living Questions by Bob Schildgen. Copyright 2008 by the Sierra Club. Excerpted with permission from Sierra Club Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.
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Gardening

8 steps to a healthy, eco-friendly lawn

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