Striving for an eco-friendly lawn isn’t always the easiest option for lawn care. Most lawn care practices and companies focus solely on presentation rather than the overall health of the yard. Between gas-powered equipment and harsh chemicals, usual lawn care is dangerous to your lawn, your family, and the environment.
Gasoline and synthetic chemicals all run off into storm drains every time you turn on your sprinklers, or there is a locally heavy downpour. These harmful elements enter our waterways and contaminate rivers, lakes, the ocean, and groundwater. They are part of the reason water treatment plants are forced to add chlorine to your tap water. Chlorine is harmful to your health just as much as gasoline and chemicals on your lawn.
To save your lawn, pets, and family, you need to know how to achieve an eco-friendly lawn.
HOW TO ACHIEVE AN ECO-FRIENDLY LAWN WITH YOUR LAWN MOWER
Typical lawn mowers and other lawn care equipment are hazardous to the environment because they run on fossil fuels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that a “new gas-powered lawn mower produces as much volatile organic compound and nitrogen oxide emission air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars each being driven for one hour.”
All of the gas-powered lawn equipment in use produce high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides, adding up to 5% of all U.S. air pollution. Every weekend, an average of 54 million Americans mow their lawns, equaling 800 million gallons of gas per year. Of that 800 million gallons, 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled during equipment refilling—more than all the oil spilled by Exxon Valdez in Alaska.
The use of gasoline in lawn care equipment contaminates groundwater, enters waterways, and evaporates in the air, introducing volatile organic compounds that can create smog-forming ozone. During the summer, when equipment use is at its peak, ground-level ozone can reach dangerous levels and trigger symptoms in asthmatics and sufferers of other chronic respiratory conditions.
What is the solution? How to achieve an eco-friendly lawn while ditching your gas-power mower? Switch to battery-powered equipment. According to the EPA, replacing 500 gas mowers with non-motorized or battery-powered mowers spares the air 212 pounds of hydrocarbons, 1.7 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and 1,724 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Additionally, you can save a part of the environment by mowing your lawn high. The typical practice is to mow the top 1/3 of the blade, but if you switch to a mower like Mowbot that mows your grass only 1 mm at a time, and in different directions each pass, your lawn will require less irrigation. Taller grass shades the soil prevents weed germination and encourages deeper root growth. With deeper roots, your lawn is hardier and drought-resistant, requiring less water to thrive.
71% of Earth’s surface is covered in water, 96.5% of which is in the oceans, leaving only 3.5% of all water on Earth as fresh and drinkable. The amount of water on Earth is finite—there will never be more or less than what we have now. The water cycle evaporates and rains down water continually, and our supply of freshwater will not change any time soon. Of our freshwater supply, the vast majority is underground as groundwater; there is far more groundwater in the U.S. than in lakes and rivers.
A study in 2010 showed that the U.S. used 79.3 billion gallons of groundwater per day. While surface water is used more for drinking water and irrigation, groundwater is vital in areas where surface water is scarce. When we use too much water in irrigation or allow the groundwater to be contaminated during routine lawn care, we are harming the Earth and our fellow man. Mow high and depend on rainwater as much as possible. Also, try watering your lawn early in the morning rather than midday to allow the water time to soak deeply into the earth instead of evaporating in the high sun.
HOW TO ACHIEVE AN ECO-FRIENDLY LAWN WITH CHEMICALS
If you’re looking to help the environment, you need to know how to achieve an eco-friendly lawn without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Anything but organic compounds can not only harm the surrounding environment but the long-term health of your lawn and garden. Synthetic fertilizers and other products typically have an immediate effect on your yard, encouraging you to use them more often.
But synthetic fertilizers, man-made concoctions of chemicals and inorganic substances, kill beneficial microorganisms in the soil, leach nitrogen, and phosphates into the groundwater, increasing toxicity, and find their way into rivers and lakes, polluting them. Synthetic fertilizers also increase nitrate levels in the soil, and edible plants produced from the fertilized soil convert to toxic nitrites in the intestines, reacting with hemoglobin in the bloodstream and potentially causing harmful health effects.
Organic fertilizers are ideal for an eco-friendly lawn and garden. They feed the soil and create healthy grass and plants and contain microbes and fungi that release nutrients slowly to plants, enriching the soil for long-term health.
HOW TO ACHIEVE AN ECO-FRIENDLY LAWN IN TODAY’S WORLD
Knowing how to achieve an eco-friendly lawn is only the start of your journey. It’s not easy to create and maintain an eco-friendly yard when today’s society relies so heavily on fossil fuels and synthetic materials, but if you invest your time and money wisely, you can produce a healthy lawn for your family, pets, and environment to enjoy for years to come.
Continue reading : Organic Fertilizer vs. Inorganic Fertilizer