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The ecologically responsible gardener – Maintaining your lawn

White clover (trifolium repens) © Jardin botanique de Montréal (Édith Smeesters)
The ecologically responsible gardener – Maintaining your lawn

As the summer draws to a close, we are ending this series with an overview of the best ways to maintain your lawn. If you are an ecologically responsible gardener, you will want maintenance to be minimal and require as few resources as possible. Ideally, the impact on the environment should be neutral. But is it always?

The greenest lawn!

For a traditional lawn to look good and be healthy, it must be regularly mowed, fertilized, watered and aerated. All these operations require a lot of energy and resources and can lead to numerous problems, such as:

  • soil and water pollution (use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides)
  • greenhouse gas emissions (mowing)
  • air pollution (mowing, production of fertilizers and pesticides)
  • excessive water use

A few tips

Use a manual or electric mower.

New models of manual lawnmowers are much lighter and more effective than their predecessors.You no longer need the physique of an athlete to push them! You can also find good cordless electric mowers, which can cut a lawn of 650–930 m2 before their battery needs recharging.

Choose environmentally friendly lawn maintenance.

For healthy grass, you need to focus on prevention. Give your lawn the best available growth conditions. If a problem arises, turn to an organic lawn care solution.

Plant a low-maintenance lawn.

You can find seed blends for low-maintenance lawns on the market. These have a high content of fine fescue grass, which is very tolerant of poor, dry soil. This type of lawn therefore requires less water, fertilizer and mowing — perfect for a lazy gardener. However, fine fescue grass is less resistant to trampling than ray grass and bluegrass.
What can you do to compensate? Sow white clover in your lawn; this legume is a good complement to ray grass and bluegrass. The grass provides cover in the spring and fall — times of year when the clover is less active. During periods of drought, the clover picks up the slack as the grass goes dormant. The clover brings extra nitrogen, which the grasses are partial to.

Replace your lawn with low-maintenance landscaping.

A lawn is an essential part of a recreation ground. But for other purposes, it can easily be replaced by ground cover or low-maintenance landscaping.This is particularly appropriate for front gardens.
So, there you go.Now that you know your options, it’sup to you to choose! And as an ecologically responsible gardener, think first of the overall health of your environment before trying to impress your neighbours! Happy gardening, and enjoy the rest of the season!

Read other advice >

Do you have questions about this blog?
Visit our Green Pages Or, go to the Horticultural information counter at the Botanical Garden for personalized service. One of our experts will be happy to give you more information.

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