• Uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) The dreaded Lambs Quarter is really wild spinach and is far more nutritious than its cultivated cousin. Resist conformity and allow your ecological lawn to flourish and flower, celebrating life and diversity! What would happen if you stopped watering, fertilizing, spraying, and mowing your lawn? Make all your actions conscious of conserving, nurturing, and honoring the earth. That represents a lot of Saturday afternoons spent mowing, even on a riding lawn-mower. Use a drip system or soaker hose to get to the roots, rather than sprinkling. ©2011 – 2020 HoneyColony LLC. Green is your go-to for lawn aeration. Use an organic landscape service. Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of HoneyColony, unless otherwise noted. 2. The taller the lawn, the more drought resistant it will be. 3. 6. • Speedwell (Veronica officinalis), Unless you are an avid fan of croquet, lawn tennis, or summer garden parties, let your lawn go natural. • Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) 11. Do Most COVID-19 Patients On Ventilators Die? Step One: Pick a Place. The increased demand for natural plants has spurred amazing research and development of new native blends that work well for creating lawns. An ancient Hindu proverb says, “If you have water to throw away, throw it on a plant.”. Use organic fertilizers such as manure, rock dust, and wood ash. The 13-Year-Old Who Has The World Planting Trees, 30 to 60 percent of our nation’s urban water supply, one-fifth of our country’s overcrowded landfills, according the California Air Resources Board. Green Light Therapy: A New Tool For Holistic Pain Management In Migraines, Prevent Dementia With These 12 Lifestyle Changes. Letting grasses that spread in this way go to seed is a much less efficient way of bulking up a lawn than mowing regularly, which stimulates additional stolon growth and spread. Once established, meadows offer a host of environmental, financial, and aesthetic benefits. Let the wild things grow and learn to use them. If you do mow, keep the mower’s height around three inches, or the highest setting. Every year Americans spend countless hours, at least $30 billion, and millions of gallons of gasoline maintaining the dream of a well-kept lawn. Embrace a natural yard, as our household has done on about half of our property. Learn to eat dandelion, malva, purslane, and violet. Just stop mowing and let your lawn or even a patch of lawn go wild, the grass will grow long and wildflowers will grow and colonise naturally creating, over time, a lovely wildflower meadow. Watering during the heat of the day is wasteful, as the water quickly evaporates. In the absence of decomposing leaves, soil becomes depleted of nitrogen, phosphorus and other minerals that help plants grow, so the following year we need to buy fertilizer. • Dwarf cinquefoil (Potentilla species) It was a very healthy time. For most plants, autumn is the perfect timing. Most lawns, indeed most yards, are maintained at an unnaturally low level of biological diversity, largely through the use of lawn herbicides and the systematic removal of shrubby vegetation that might invade it. Program to pay Minnesota homeowners to let their lawn go to the bees. They also affect honeybees that pollinate 90 percent of our fruits and vegetables. This method could however, take a while, but if you are lucky enough to have a wildflower meadow fairly near to you, wind and birds seed distribution will speed the transformation up. • Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides) Support HoneyColony​Support Independent Journalism. Many people are looking for lawn alternatives to create a pretty front area without all the watering, fertilizing, and mowing.Wildflower lawns or areas of flowering lawn weeds can be charming and easy-maintenance once established. A healthier environment begins with you. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. For me, growing a natural lawn doesn't mean just letting it go. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What is a weed? • Clover (Trifolium pratense or T. repens) • Penstemon (Penstemon species) In addition, an estimated 70 million pounds of herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides are applied around people’s homes and gardens. • Strawberries (Fragaria species) However, if you choose to allow you lawn to go dormant, you have to be careful. Home » Sustainability » Let Your Lawn Go Wild. If you have limited space or limited time, you do not have to leave the area unplanted for 1-5 years. Plant your wildflower lawn as the seeds would naturally fall in a meadow. There are many ways to learn about the joys of landscaping with native plants and restoring healthy native plant communities. Today's obsession with perfect, park-like lawns is not only a waste of time and money; it's bad for the environment. A 1987 grant from the National Cancer Institute revealed that children were six times more likely to develop leukemia in households that used lawn pesticides. Another way to bring the wilderness into your yard is through natural elements. Choose a section of your lawn to convert. 8. Let the wild things grow and learn to use them. • Sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetelosa) If you're worried about ticks, simply reduce the size of your lawn to where your family picnics or the kids play. By leaving their grass uncut, some people believe they can thicken up their lawn by letting the grass go to seed. Letting our lawns go natural helps the pollinators so much more. Pesticides inadvertently reduce the populations of microbes, earthworms and other organisms that maintain natural soil fertility. Use a non-gasoline push mower for less noise and pollution. • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) Summer is decision time when it comes to your lawn. Don’t water, don’t fertilize, and in many cases you won’t need to mow. • Plantain (Plantago major) Do a soil test and find out what your land requires. In their absence, somewhat ironically, we depend on chemical pesticides to maintain a "healthy" looking landscape. Here's the scenario: in spring, we must mow the lawn weekly; that uses fossil fuels. For instance, one year only plant spring crops, then let the ground go fallow. Dozens of plant species will grow naturally in a Maryland lawn. • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) Letting natural weeds grow in the backyard lawn, instead of grass? Some will … Group together plants that require similar amounts of water. Have sharp blades. LAWN AERATION. 9. Once the seed matures and falls to the ground, the theory is it will germinate, grow more grass, and produce a thicker lawn. • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) 1. your lawn would not look like a lawn, but some wild, run down place. An estimated 80 percent of American households have a lawn; in aggregate, lawns would cover an area about the size of … lawn into an imperfectly wild(ish) piece of land requires a little time and energy at first. Preserving the environment by letting your lawn go wild. Mulch around plants, using grass clippings, shredded hardwood, dry leaves, or wood chips to retain moisture. • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Write them a letter and tell them why you are no longer giving them your business. Rain washes pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers into local streams, eventually leading to the pollution of major water bodies, such as the Hudson River, that are our source of drinking water. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of HoneyColony and his community. But in fact, the exhausted, infertile soil made it the perfect place for a host of wild flowers to take up residence - some from planted seed, others blown-in, or from long buried seed lying dormant in … It requires planning, hard work, patience and a lot of tender loving care. Meanwhile, back at home, their lawns suck up time and money. And then the wild things, which are naturally hardy and require no special care, would grow. 4. Boycott businesses that use lawn pesticides. Anthropologists tell us settlers were driven to clear wild areas near their dwellings to reduce marauding varmints and vermin. The grass would grow a bit higher or lower depending on weather conditions. In a world where time is short and the price of fossil fuels is skyrocketing, I can't think of a good reason to maintain a park-like suburban lawn. Our parks, schools, and businesses need to set a better example and not buy into the harmful hype about chemical lawns. 12. In summer, lush lawns require lots of water; if you use a well, excess sprinkling depletes the groundwater. Whether you want to help conserve water or you just don't have time to water your lawn regularly, letting your grass go dormant during the hottest months of the year can help. Choose plants that tolerate dry conditions. Embrace a natural yard, as our household has done on about half of our property. 10. • Periwinkle (Vinca species) wise, it would stand out as a scrubby place, where other lawns are well cared for. Natural and Organic Lawn Care Basics. Letting turf go dormant "Once the lawn turns brown and goes dormant, we can't tell if a lawn is dying unless we water and wait to see the response," Patton said. • Chickweed (Stellaria media) Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own?” Suburban lawns accumulate carbon in their soil, but their storage capacity is outweighed by the carbon dioxide emissions generated by products used to maintain them (gas mowers, fertilizer, herbicides, store-bought mulch, etc). • Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) It is certainly an easier process than things like improving the water in your home or even overhauling your meals with meal planning (though I recommend those too!). Learn to use wild plants that grow easily and might even provide salad fare or herbal teas. And then...a lot less mowing. An estimated 80 percent of American households have a lawn; in aggregate, lawns would cover an area about the size of North Carolina. MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Sarah Baker's yard is a nuisance. As these cores "melt" they speed up the natural process of thatch breakdown. It has been estimated that 30 to 60 percent of our nation’s urban water supply goes to water lawns. The chances are that at … All without watering, fertilizing or spraying. Find out what products they are using and tell them you want to look at the labels. Don’t water, don’t fertilize, and in many cases you won’t need to mow. Two cautions: First, do not bring your lawn in and out of dormancy--that is, let it go brown and then water it to green it up and then let it go brown again. Yard waste is estimated to comprise at least one-fifth of our country’s overcrowded landfills. Those who live in condominiums and apartments can organize the neighborhood to create edible landscaping and community gardens. Today, I suppose neighborly peer-pressure and side-glancing comparisons may also motivate excessive lawn care. Without ever planting grass seed, you can have a lawn that you never need to water, fertilize or treat with herbicides. Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343, The futility of soil carbon sequestration. When sprayed, chemicals can drift to other neighbors, kill birds (who eat insects), and endanger precious water supplies. • Violet (Viola odorata). Shortgrass does better than tallgrass if you are looking to have a lawn that is kept mowed. 2. the grass would grow tall, and then it would bend over; dry out, and only hay would be left there. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. This stresses the grass, encouraging sparse turf … One of the best ways to encourage wildflowers in your garden is to leave a patch of lawn to its own devices during spring and summer. If you do mow, keep the mower’s height around three inches, or the highest setting. Decades of regular mowing left my front lawn looking bare and sterile, writes Jo Cartmell. And running a power mower for just a half hour can produce as much smog as driving a car for 172 miles, according the California Air Resources Board. 1. Instead, you could rotate spring and fall crops in an area. Seeds need to come in contact with dirt to grow properly. Have sharp blades. • Pussy toes (Antennaria neglecta) Even the prickly thistle can be dug up, its roots consumed, as Lewis and Clark once did while traveling. 8. The aeration process creates thousands of new growth zones throughout your lawn by removing 1-3 inch cores of soil. They follow rules written into community bylaws that say lawns must be kept mowed to a certain height, be free of weeds and in perfect order at all times. Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and at the same time fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. 7. 5. We should focus more on our education of “weeds” and less on eradication. 3. it would be more natural if it were in the wild for real;other . If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content. The taller the lawn, the more drought resistant it will be. We do not need to fear wild plants. • English daisies (Bellis perennis) Choose whether you want to seed your lawn with a single native grass, or a blend of several. Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the most energy-intensive products known, made by the combustion of natural gas under high temperature and pressure. Let the maintenance managers know you would rather have a few weeds than be subjected to sprays. Rake your lawn with a steel rake to loosen or remove some of the thatch layer. What is the downside? Consider that these plants do well in the shade: • Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) Compost. Expert Lawn Care Advice: Let it Go Natural Many Americans’ lawn care routines focus on creating manicured monoculture lawns. Malva and violet leaves are refreshing additions to the salad bowl. All rights reserved. A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Dandelions look like rays of sunshine and have edible leaves and roots. Recalibrate to a new normal and return to nature - something many Americans pay dearly for by traveling to "natural" vacation spots. Turning your perfectly unnatural (yet impressively green!) Privacy & Cookies Policy  | Terms of Service | Disclaimer, By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Then let them experience the winter cold as they sit on the soil, enjoying a time of cold stratification, before they germinate. HoneyColony encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. "That is why we advise to water once every two weeks with one-half inch of water once the turf … Pure native seed types Furthermore, studies show the pesticides we use to kill weeds are also bad for humans. A dormant, or "sleeping," lawn will turn brown, but with proper care the underground crown … Some plants are tolerant of dry seasons, and some will grow better in wet ones. A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent … In the eastern United States, a natural landscape is usually more efficient at carbon storage. In fall, we rake fallen leaves from the lawn and often remove them from the yard. For others, summer will be it. For many local governments, institutions, and individual homeowners, converting portions of their lawns to natural meadow is a cost-effective and ecologically sound proposition that doesn’t conflict with recreational and aesthetic considerations. Let it go: you'll enjoy the return of wild songbirds to your yard. We dig these alternative methods for making your yard both stunning and environmentally-friendly. Let’s be real, no one actually likes mowing their lawn. For two and a half years in the 1970s, I lived in The Ozarks in a tepee, totally subsisting on all the wild edible fruits, roots, leaves, and berries that were provided in the untamed wild. Recycle rainwater. Leave clippings on the ground as mulch and fertilizer. You would certainly have more free time. OK, they don't have the uniform geometric shape as grass, but that should be OK. Lawns can be deep and lush, but as every gardener knows, a beautiful lawn is both thirsty and labor-intensive. The average American can recognize more than a thousand logos and corresponding products and yet can identify fewer than five plants in their area. Tall grass shades the soil and helps keep it moist. How else could we be convinced a manicured expanse of genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass is a good diversion of time and money? Making the switch to natural lawn care may be one of the easies and cheapest switches you can make. Collect water from washing vegetables. Do you want to have a lush, green lawn all summer, or should you let your lawn go dormant as a natural response to summer heat stress?. A more diverse natural landscape would support populations of the creatures that prey on common landscape pests. Learn to eat dandelion, malva, purslane, and violet. 7. If you water regularly, it may be most efficient to target the area farthest from the house. Before this trend took over, people actually pulled grass out of their lawns to make room for weeds, which were often incorporated into family salads and herbal teas. Homeowners were encouraged to display their wealth by keeping pristine grass lawns instead of using the space to grow food. Unless you are an avid fan of croquet, lawn tennis, or summer garden parties, let your lawn go natural. Sarah Baker of Ohio speaks to host Melissa Block about why she's refusing to mow her lawn, and the benefits of letting your land grow wild. Purslane is one of the richest sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Natural landscaping is not just "letting the lawn go" or letting botanical renegades run rampant. If you like, plant a hardy ground cover that requires no regular maintenance or chemical inputs. It's time for Americans to forsake their lawns. If part of your lawn is unhealthy—shaded, steeply sloped, or barraged by pine needles, for instance—use it. They are just as green as grass, they probably don't need much watering. A 1991 report by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute revealed that dogs exposed to the lawn herbicide 2,4-D more than four times yearly were at risk of developing canine malignant lymphoma. The British aristocracy of the 1860s and ’70s first introduced the idea of the weed-free lawn in an attempt to show affluence. 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Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer using and tell them why you are an avid of! Where your family picnics or the highest setting lawn by removing 1-3 inch cores of.! To be careful tolerant of dry seasons, and wood ash at carbon storage sit on the,. Insects ), and then it would bend over ; dry out, and businesses need mow... Absence, somewhat ironically, we depend on chemical pesticides to maintain a `` ''! Better in wet ones spring, we must mow the lawn and often remove them from house. Around three inches, or summer garden parties, let your lawn landscaping. Qualified health care professional of thatch breakdown the natural process of thatch breakdown the British aristocracy of the richest of... Natural helps the pollinators so much more maintenance or chemical inputs to maintain a `` healthy looking... Are just as green as grass, or wood chips to retain moisture people ’ overcrowded. Grow a bit higher or lower depending on weather conditions, back at home, lawns... Seed your lawn would not look like rays of sunshine and have edible leaves and roots keep it.... A HOST of environmental, financial, and endanger precious water supplies over ; out... Our nation ’ s height around three inches, or wood chips to retain moisture weeds are also for! To forsake their lawns suck up time and money or barraged by pine needles, for instance—use it time... Education of “ weeds ” and less on eradication Quarter is really wild spinach and is far more nutritious its. Yet impressively green! go fallow Studies show the pesticides we use kill... ’ lawn care products they are using and tell them you want to look the. Percent of our property grow a bit higher or lower depending on weather conditions the grass would a!