A beautiful, well maintained lawn enhances your property value and provides a place for recreation and relaxation. But you may be making more work of your yard than is necessary.
A few simple changes in your lawn care practices can save you time and money, while improving the quality of your lawn! You’ll also be protecting water resources.
Make your lawn cheaper and easier to maintain by mowing high — three inches is the rule! The roots of your lawn grow as deep as the grass grows tall, so taller grass has deeper, healthier roots. Keep your lawn three inches or higher, and never cut off more than 1/3 of the blade each time you mow. Leave the clippings right on your lawn for a natural fertilizer rich in nutrients and organic matter.
Over-watering can damage plants, stimulate fungus, and leach nutrients out of the soil.
Create a smaller lawn area.
Use trees, shrubs and flowers to landscape the rest of your yard.
Landscape with deep-rooted native plants.
They are naturally suited to our weather and soil conditions, which means less work for you! See our page on Native Plants for more information.
Put rainwater to work for you.
Border your lawn with deep-rooted flowers and shrubs to prevent water runoff. Direct down spouts into garden areas, or install rain barrels to collect water for use during dry weather.
Mulch grass clippings and leaves back into the lawn.
Clippings that are mulched and returned to the lawn all season can contribute up to 25 percent of a lawn’s seasonal fertilizer needs. The additional organic matter in the soil will also help it retain moisture. Mulching is also a terrific option for fall leaves. Faculty at the Turf Research Institute at Michigan State University successfully tested mulching over 18 inches of dry leaves into lawns with healthy results year after year.
If you fertilize, protect water quality.
Check out HRWC’s tips on getting your soils tested and using fertilizer at Go Phosphorus Free.
Healthy Lawns and Gardens Progam of the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority has a website of information and resources for homeowners on water-friendly fertilizing practices and lawn care. We especially like their 2-page pdf, Healthy Lawn Care Tips.