Natural Lawn Care
Shorewood’s Gone Natural
The Village of Shorewood is no longer using chemical fertilizers and pesticides in our parks and public spaces.
The Village has transitioned to using all-organic approaches that create healthier soils, healthier green spaces, and a healthier environment for us all.
Why Go Natural?
Conventional turf management relies on chemical herbicides and pesticides to preserve an image of pristine turf. Weed and Feed products do contain pesticides. The chemicals are absorbed by humans and animals and have been linked to Parkinson’s, asthma, reduced fertility, childhood leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other cancers and disorders.
Many conventional fertilizers contain nutrients that wash away and pollute waterways (i.e. Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River), contributing to algal blooms, also known as “green sludge,” and attendant odors on our beaches. Weed and Feed products do contain chemical fertilizers.
Some other environmental costs of conventional lawn care include:
- 30% of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60% on the West Coast.
- 18% of municipal solid waste is composed of yard waste.
- The average suburban lawn received 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
- Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually.
- Per hour of operation, a gas lawn mower has 10-12 times the emissions of a typical car. A weed whacker emits 21 times more and a leaf blower 34 times more.
- Where pesticides are used, 60-90% of earthworms and important microbes are killed. Earthworms and microbes are important for soil health.
(Source: U.S. National Wildlife Federation)
Natural lawn care provides a healthy lawn that is safe for our families, pets, and our environment.
Shorewood Conservation Committee’s Top 10 Natural Lawn Care Tips:
- Water deeply and infrequently (1” per week is ideal)
- Mow high (3” or higher). Longer shoots lead to longer root growth and better competition against weeds.
- Use organic, slow-release fertilizers or fine-screened compost.
- Aerate or overseed to increase turf density.
- Practice manual weed removal.
- Consider reducing turf coverage and plant native perennials instead.
- Consider using an old-fashioned manual, reel mower or electric mower instead of a two-stroke gas mower.
- Always mulch your grass clippings in situ or rake them to the compost bin.
- Water in the late evening or early morning, never in full sun.
- Keep your mower blades sharp so you are cutting not chewing the grass stems, making them susceptible to disease.
More detailed suggestions are widely available online. A good general resource is http://eartheasy.com/grow_lawn_care.htm.