Since I inherited a subpar lawn at my current property, I've been lost in the world of lawn care trying to figure out some simple solutions. First, I noticed how many people are going the chemical route via fertilizers and pesticides. That's not very Paleo, and not for me.
After considerable digging, I found a great article, "Organic Lawn Care for the Cheap and Lazy" by Paul Wheaton. It laid out just a few main principles for organic lawn care:
- Mow high (3" or more)
- Use organic fertilizer a couple times a year
- Check the soil pH and adjust accordingly
And that's about it! The more I've learned about this subject, the more I'm finding the article to be true. For example, when you mow high, this tends to crowd out weeds naturally rather than going the chemical route.
While Paul wrote his article back in the 90s, recent science is showing his method works. Rebecca Brown, Assistant Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at University of Rhode Island, recently conducted some lawn studies:
“I recently completed five years of trials that found that hard fescue, tall fescue, colonial bentgrass, red fescue and koeleria (prairie junegrass) were able to maintain 100 percent turf cover on poor soil with no irrigation or pesticides after establishment — and only 1-2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year applied as organic granular fertilizer.”
It looks like the typical advice about lawn care is as good as the typical advice about diets.