Eco-Friendly Lawn Care
Sustainable Ways to Love Your Lawn
It may not be obvious, but lawn care practices affect our rivers and lakes. Whenever it rains, fertilizer, pesticides and grass clippings that are left on sidewalks and driveways are washed into streets, down stormdrains and into local waters. While fertilizers help keep grass green and growing, they also "fertilize" our water resources - making them green with algae. Take a moment to plan out your lawn care to have the most success and to keep yard work stress low.
Leaves, grass clippings, trees and other types of plant waste are banned from the trash. Find your nearest yard waste disposal site and arrange a drop-off. Visit each county's website for regulations and procedures:
- Ramsey County Compost Site: Hennepin County residents living in St. Anthony may use the Ramsey County Compost site with a valid Driver's License.
- Hennepin County Compost Site
Lawn Watering & Maintenance
Cut your grass 3 inches or higher. Most turf is healthiest when kept at a height of 3." Mowing high helps the grass grow healthier, longer roots so it resists disease and requires less fertilizer and water. Grass has a meristematic tissue that gives rise to primary growth of the plant. With this tissue left un-cut, the grass can hold nutrients and water more efficiently, and is not stressed by constantly needing to rebuild the tissue.
Leave grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings contain nitrogen, and important nutrient for plants. Leaving clippings on your lawn adds nitrogen back to the soil. The mowed clippings are equal to about one fertilizer application per year, reducing your fertilizer costs. Grass clippings should always be swept off of hard surfaces to prevent them from washing down storm drains to the Mississippi River and Silver Lake.
Watering too often encourages roots to stay near the lawn's surface where they're more susceptible to drought and disease. Watering infrequently but deeply encourages roots to grow downward for moisture. To test if you need to water, walk across your lawn. If the footprints remain longer than two hours, your lawn needs water. St. Anthony has heavy clay soil which will retain moisture well.
To conserve precious water resources, the best time to water is 6 to 8 a.m. Water experiences less evaporation and wind at this time. Watering mid-day or on a windy day loses much of the water to evaporation. Watering in the evening keeps your grass wet overnight, which encourages fungal diseases. Aim your sprinkler to spray only the lawn: not sidewalks, decks, or roads. Set automatic irrigation to turn off if it's raining.
If you hire a lawn service, chose a contractor who is state-certified in Summer Turf Care Best Practices. If your favorite lawn service is not certified, suggest it! A link to a list of certified contractors can be found on the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Website. Look into getting your soil tested to avoid applying excess fertilizer.
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Videos
Check out the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization's "Improved Lawn Maintenance: Good Choices for Clean Water!" 3-part video: