Looking to save gas? Stop using chemical fertilizer on the lawn.
A 40-pound bag of chemical fertilizer contains the fossil fuel equivalent of three gallons of gas, according to SafeLawns.org, which is in Washington this week to lobby for the benefits of organic lawn care.
The fossil fuel base of fertilizer isn't universally understood. One of the criticisms of corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel is that it takes so much chemical fertilizer to grow corn (conventionally, anyway) that there is little or no oil saved in the process of creating the gasoline alternative. Similar formulations of fertilizer are used on farms and residential lawns alike.
The high price of oil, and the exceptional drought plaguing the Southeast are both indicators that organic lawn care's time has come, according to the group.
Organic lawn care can keep lawns green even during drought, according to Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual, and he founder of SafeLawns.org.
"If you avoid synthetic chemical fertilizers and switch to compost and organic fertilizers, youll reduce the need for watering by up to 75%," he said. "These natural soil amendments help the soil store water and, therefore, help the grass stay green."Four acres of the National Mall have been converted to organic maintenance recently, so visitors to the nation's capital can witness the challenges and successes of organic lawn care first hand.
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