Conventional lawn care consists of a never ending cycle of fertilizer applications, weed control, dethatching and over-watering from automatic irrigation systems.
These practices unintentionally promote excessive growth, disease, thatch build up, invasive weeds, soil compaction, ground water pollution, and a lawn without much drought tolerance.
A program using a sustainable horticulture approach is more successful because the techniques and materials involved are simplified and work to complement each other. The transition to a lasting healthy lawn can be sped up by incorporating as many sustainable protocols as possible.
The one and a quarter-acre organic lawn at Lotusland is managed to not promote excessive growth, which in turn saves on labor—less growth equals less time spent mowing. Compost tea is added to support the soil biosphere. Liquid or soluble organic fertilizers can be added for additional nutrients if more lush growth is desired prior to special events.
Thatch does not build up because of the increased microbiology in the soil continually digesting the dead organic matter. Annual aerating prevents soil compaction from occurring.
Efficient watering combined with improved soil biology and organic matter content have greatly increased the drought tolerance of the lawn.
The sustainable lawn program should include:
- Annual aeration to loosen the soil from effects of traffic
- Recycling clippings back into the lawn, simply achieved with recycling mowers
- Mowing the lawn at a fairly tall height, never scalping the lawn
- Complete head to head irrigation coverage from the watering system for efficient watering
- Aggressively removing any invasive warm season grasses manually