What IS sustainable lawn care?

Despite what some try to make out, “Sustainable lawn care” isn’t new – it is as old as the hills! But it’s also the best way you can maintain a really healthy lawn, guaranteed.


The idea of “Sustainable lawn care” is a beautiful contradiction. On the one hand, it means working with nature; and that requires skill. But on the other, it simply means using common sense. And we can see this clearly by looking at the bigger picture.

All around us Nature is doing her own sustainable lawn care, right under our noses. A field, a verge, even a mountainside – these are just some of the places you can find great areas of healthy grass growing successfully, all thanks to nature. And sustainable lawn care simply replicates this by using the same natural solutions to common problems.


Imagine a wild stretch of moorland, dotted with sheep. Here and there you’ll find areas of lush and beautiful grass you’d be proud to have in your garden, all maintained by nature. How does it do this? The sheep prune the grass, so no mower is required; there are virtually no weeds because the native grasses in that habitat don’t let them in – so no nasty herbicides are required; it doesn’t even need fertiliser – thanks again to those sheep. And whilst it may not have the manicured finish we’d like in our own lawn, that grass is as healthy as any lawn, guaranteed.


So, the skill in working with nature is actually nothing more than adopting – and adapting – the same natural principles in the more managed conditions of our gardens. All it requires is common sense, and here are just a few examples:


Grass species: Perhaps you have thin patches, or are persuaded that this or that non-native variety will be tougher, greener or need less mowing? Before you choose your grass, remember that Nature knew what to grow on that moorland – whatever native species is best suited to it. So why don’t we do the same, using the same grasses we already have or can be found in neighbouring gardens? Grass that likes its habitat will give you the fewest problems and require fewer intrusive operations such as seeding, watering and excessive mowing.


Nutrition: Those sheep/cows/horses/deer/rabbits etc are giving the moorland grass superb food. All plants need food, even your lawn; but not just any old fertiliser – use something natural to replicate nature’s own superior kitchen. Better still, use a fertiliser such as Truegrass that improves the soil’s biology as well.


Unwanted plants: Moss and weeds provide manufacturers with endless profits from their herbicides, but that moorland doesn’t need them. Why? Because strong and healthy grass of the appropriate species won’t leave enough room for these invaders to become a nuisance. Resorting to chemicals is like bolting the stable door too late – and is almost always preventable.


Mowing: No, I am not suggesting you buy a few sheep. But I DO say you should keep your mower blade as sharp as possible. Ovine teeth are perfect grinders, giving the grass a clean pruning cut with every munch. Grass that is torn and ripped by blunt blades, however, is more prone to disease and stress and poor growth.


So, sustainable lawn care is the easiest and surest way to maintain a really healthy lawn. You can still have fun with the latest gizmos – in fact, I would recommend things like modern battery equipment rather than using petrol power. But the more you can appreciate how expertly Nature looks after her plants, the more you can learn from her and align your lawn care to hers.


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