Mowing 50 million acres of lawns helps contribute to up to 10% of the nations air pollution in the summer, and improper mowing causes all sorts of lawn problems. Here are a few pointers for a greener lawn:
Fertilize your grass ... with grass
Recycling your grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn will provide approximately half of your lawns fertilizer needs for the season.
Don't let your lawn warm the climate
Avoid bagging clippings, unless youre just bagging them to add to the compost pile. Clippings inside plastic bags heat up and release methane, contributing to global warming.
Sharpen your blades for fuel efficiency
Keeping your mower blades sharp will maintain the lawns health and vigor and improve fuel efficiency.
Observe the Law of Thirds
If you have a lawn, then you have probably been in this predicament: Either it rained for a week straight, or you went on vacation, and the grass got away from you and grew to 6, 8 or even 10 inches tall. Whats a homeowner to do? Remember the lawn Rule of Thirds, which means that you should never cut more than one-third of the grass plant at any one time if possible. Cutting more than that shocks the grass plant and it will almost immediately turn yellow and become prone to disease and insects. If the lawn grows to, say, 6 inches, then cut it down to 4 inches and let the grass recover for a two days, then cut it down to 3 inches. If the lawn grows to taller than 6 inches, you may need to push down on the handle of the mower, thereby lifting the front wheels of the mower right off the ground just to get through the lawn for that first cut. Be extremely careful in doing this, though, making sure no one is anywhere near the mower which can fling dangerous rocks and other debris when wheels are lifted.
Don't close-crop your grass
Setting the blade as high as possible will preserve soil moisture throughout the summer and keep the lawn greener longer, even in drought.
Don't parch your lawn
If there is no rain in the forecast for the next few days, avoid mowing. Period. Lawns suffer when trying to recover from mowing during dry periods.
Get your grass off gas!
If your lawn is a third of an acre or less, it may be time to trade in that gas model or an electric or battery-powered machine. Gasoline mowers, blowers and trimmers are some of the most polluting devices on the planet; statistics show that a typical gas mower can be up to 30-times more polluting than an automobile. Gas-powered lawnmowers produce hydrocarbons (a major component of smog), particulate matter (which damages respiratory systems), carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas) and carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming). And as a personal matter for everyone, when you use a gas-powered piece of equipment, you and your family are breathing those toxic fumes. Electric and battery-powered equipment is up to 90% less polluting than the gas stuff and wont emit any fumes in your yard. For more on electric and human-powered mowers, including how-to videos, see SafeLawns.org's Get Your Grass Off Gas campaign.
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