You’ve probably heard about all the initiatives different farms have needed to take in order to conserve water, reduce pollution and save the Earth. It’s a prominent issue – California has a long history of consuming more than its share of water, and their farmers are constantly coming up with complex ways to cut back while maintaining a consistent output of crops. Unfortunately, that’s not just a problem on farms, and it’s not just a problem in California, either. The state of New Jersey is constantly pushing its residents to help reduce waste and water consumption at the source – especially during drought season – because caring for the lawn of your home, when done improperly, is much more wasteful than you might think. Here are some ways you can be a part of the effort to conserve water and reduce waste when caring for your lawn.
‘Cut it and Leave it’
“Cut it and leave it” is essentially New Jersey’s motto when it comes to mowing your lawn. You may have never guessed it, but grass clippings contribute significantly to the solid waste stream in New Jersey, and according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, you can be a huge help simply by leaving your grass clippings on your lawn after mowing them. It’s beneficial for you – you’ll save an average of 25% of your time when you don’t have to empty a lawnmower bag, and you won’t have to purchase waste bags or drag them to the curb, either. On top of that, grass clippings deliver nutrients back to your soil, so you’ll need less fertilizer as well.
Proper Mowing Technique
Each time you mow your lawn, you should only be removing about 1/3 of the length of your grass. This means you should be mowing pretty frequently and you shouldn’t be cutting the grass too short. This is the best way to acquire an attractive, green, and healthy looking lawn while also ensuring that the clippings are being efficiently and effectively distributed down to the soil. Due to New Jersey’s climate, lawns should remain about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high to offer ample shade to the soil – the roots need to be sufficiently cool for optimum growth, and this also helps stifle the growth off weeds. Use mulching attachments on your lawnmower for an even more efficient mow.
Using a controlled watering system is the most effective method for lawn growth and the best way to avoid being wasteful. Using lawn sprinklers in NJ is highly recommended so that you can set them to turn on in the early morning – this is the best time to water, as you’ll lose the least amount of moisture to evaporation. You should only be watering your lawn when it’s dry; watering too frequently, especially when soil is moist, is simply wasteful. Most lawns only need to be watered on a weekly basis, even in particularly dry periods of the summer.
Additives and Other Growth Products
Many people don’t realize that they’re applying too many additives to their lawns. This is a waste of money and can also do more harm than good. Only apply additives when you recognize a problem, such as a patch of grass that won’t grow or a disease in the grass. For safe additive application, contact a County Agriculture Extension Agent for advice on how to efficiently bring your lawn back to life.
Cheryl is an exterior landscapaer who has helped renovate many lawns while also implementing her own water saving and cost budget tips as well.