Getting Stuck In A Rut

July 31, 2014
Lindsay DeMarzo
Stormwater-Friendly Yard

We all do it.  It’s how we live.  We eat, we grow, and then we get on a treadmill to cut back our size.  Then the circle starts over again and we eat and eat (because it just tastes so good!) only to obsessively work out some more.  Surprisingly enough, this seems to make us only a distant relative to grass.  That’s right, forget the apes.  We are like grass.  Turf grass to be specific.

We water and fertilize and water some more until the grass grows and needs to be cut.  Then we repeat.  Only problem is we have a tendency to force-feed the grass and then obsessively cut it.  Whoever decided this circular waste of time and money was what the “cool kids” should be doing was wrong. Let’s think this through and recognize that every time we attach the sprinkler to the hose or bust out the fertilizer bag that it’s leading to another hour mowing the lawn in the heat and buying more gas and oil for the mower.  Let’s not force our obsessive behaviors on nature.  For some reason Americans seem to have fallen head over heels for fertilizer and its magical abilities.  Well it’s not magic.  In fact it’s a circular rut we seem to be stuck in and have forced on our outdoor spaces along the way.    Unfortunately, negative effects of this evil rut spread quickly to our water ways and harm more than just our free time and pocketbooks.

This blog could go on for days, but here are the basics on getting out of the rut of lawn care (you’re on your own for your personal habits):
- Don’t fertilize unless you have brand new grass (i.e. it’s as fine as baby’s hair).
- Water only new grass and only in the very early morning or late evening to avoid wasting water through evaporation.
- Test your soil before you put anything on your grass.
- Reduce the size of your lawn by planting natives that don’t need extra water.
- Embrace dormant brown grass and put away the sprinkler in the middle of summer.
- Save money, air pollution, and time and let your grass grow an extra inch before mowing.
- Don’t mow on poor air quality days.
- Embrace clover in your yard.  The bees love it and so should you.
- Never mow to the edge of the stream.  Leave as many feet as possible to grow naturally.

More info on gardening and landscaping with the environment in mind can be found here:

~Lindsay, OES Staff