Lawn Care Basics
Smart Ways to Maintain an Eco-Friendly Lawn
Earth-friendly care for a stronger, healthier lawn is easy with these tips.
Making Things Better Starts With Everyone Doing Their Part
Proper lawn care protects our natural waterways. Here are some great backyard tips, techniques and tactics to help you do your part for lawns - and the planet.
7 Smart Ways to Maintain an Eco-Friendly Lawn
Feed your lawn what it needs when it needs it whenever the grass is actively growing.
Here's how to properly feed a healthy, environmentally friendly lawn:
- When possible, choose a phosphorus-free fertilizer.
- Always follow fertilizer label directions.
- Do not over apply.
- Only apply lawn food when rainfall is not expected within 24 hours of application to prevent fertilizer from washing away or leaching into groundwater.
Keep grass clippings, leaves and product off hard surfaces and sidewalks. Sweep debris back into your lawn. Pick up spilled or excess fertilizer and put it back into the bag or dispose of it properly so it can't wash into storm drains and waterways.
Mulch Grass Clippings & Leaves
Lawn clippings and leaves return nutrients to the soil and enrich it to reduce erosion and runoff. Clippings help keep nutrients where they belong - on your lawn and out of waterways.
Use a broadcast spreader with a side deflector, like the EdgeGuard®, to direct lawn products away from driveways and waterways toward your lawn.
Apply the right amount of lawn food with a broadcast spreader featuring EdgeGuard®. It helps keep fertilizer on the lawn and off hard surfaces where they can be washed away.
Longer grass is stronger grass. Keeping your lawn length on the tall side helps shade soil, prevent weed germination, encourage deeper root growth, and better absorb (and filter) rainfall. The result? Reduced erosion and runoff.
Water only when lawn truly needs it and use rainwater whenever possible. Direct rain from gutters and downspouts onto lawns or into rain barrels. Let rain gauges, micro-drip irrigation systems and other water conservation tools help you out. Do what you can to keep rainwater on your property, which helps keep pollutants out of waterways.
Another effective way to save water is to use a tech-based watering system. Installing an EPA WaterSense-certified device like the Gro® 7 Zone Controller can actually conserve up to 7,600 gallons of water per year per home—a huge savings by any measurement. It works with the Gro Connect app to create a customized watering schedule for your sprinkler system based on weather, location, and what you’re growing.
Build a Buffer
Create a natural barrier between your lawn and nearby waterways. If you live near the water, maintain a 10-foot, uncut, "no-maintenance zone." This means no mowing, no feeding and no pesticides within 10 feet of the water body. To maintain an aesthetic lawn and landscape in an environmentally friendly way, choose plants that thrive without the need for fertilization or irrigation.
Next time you're faced with planting a new lawn, consider planting Scotts® Turf Builder® Clover Lawn. With deep roots that reach way down into the soil for moisture, this type of lawn require less frequent watering and is more drought-resistant than some traditional grass lawns. Clover also self-fertilizes when you leave the clippings after mowing, making your life easier.
Dos and Don'ts to Protect The Environment
DO let your lawn go without water during short, dry spells. Grass plants are especially resilient at going dormant for a short period of time until natural rain returns.
DO use rainfall to water lawn and landscape. Most areas receive enough natural rainfall to support plant growth without supplemental watering or the use of lawn sprinklers.
DO prevent soil erosion by keeping a small patch of unmowed, unfertilized land next to any water's edge.
DON'T dump clippings or waste into sewers or waterways, or onto hard surfaces.
DON'T forget to sweep clippings, leaves and excess product back onto your lawn.
DON'T neglect to make the best use of your home's gutters. Redirect downspouts to water lawns, gardens, and to fill rain barrels.
DON'T water before heavy rainfall or forecasted rain.
3 Healthy Lawn Habits
- Feed when grass is actively growing. Follow label directions to provide the right amount of nutrients to your yard.
- EdgeGuard® puts product only where you want it.
- Use rainwater, not tap water.
- Water only as needed.
- Mow with a mulching mower. Return clippings and mulched leaves to lawn.
*Sources: University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Scotts Miracle-Gro, National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD)