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green lawn care

7 Chemical-Free Fixes for Common Lawn Problems

Most of your lawn’s problems can be fixed with simple maintenance, not floods of expensive chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

By Emily Main

tags: LAWN CARE



RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—By some estimates, our chemically addicted lawns are as polluting to our health and to waterways as chemical agriculture. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that Americans apply 90 million pounds of pesticides and herbicides every year in order to get lush green yards, and surveys have found that because their use is so heavy, those chemicals can drift into our homes—even if they started out on a neighbor’s lawn and not our own.

However, like many problems for which chemicals seem like a quick, easy fix, lawn problems can usually be corrected without nerve-damaging and ecohazardous chemicals like glyphosate (used in Roundup) and 2,4-D (used in products made by Scotts and Weed B Gone).

Here are some of the most common lawn and yard problems you’ll encounter, what they signify, and how to fix them:

1. Clover

Some weeds you can eat, some weeds are pretty, and other weeds are signs of a problem. If you want your lawn to be healthy, clover is a good weed to have in the landscape. It usually appears when your soil is low in nitrogen levels, but it helps fix the problem by bringing nitrogen to the soil. Solution: Leave it alone! When you mow, the clover clippings will add nitrogen to your lawn, helping to fix the problem without fertilizer.

Published on: June 19, 2009
Updated on: July 28, 2010



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milky spore

It's also available in a form that can be used in a spreader. Probably a bit more expensive, but a lot easier to apply!

Bermuda Grass

We are planning to remove large amounts of bermuda grass, but are concerned with potential dangers to insects and environment. What other solutions are there to positive methods to eliminate this horrible invasive grass? We are planning on a drought tolerant yard(s). But is Round-up the only sure thing. I've read that the more round-up is used the more resistant the surface becomes. This seems logical. How can you fix one problem without creating another?

Japanese Beetles in Lawn

It sounds like you did a great job with the Milky spore disease. I think it's wonderful you went the more labor-intensive, but safe way. We live in a family home that has been in the family for 60 years and you can believe that we want to use methods that cause harm to no one. We have a part-time spring in the back and some animals that have become rare in our area, so we definitely want to preserve our habitat.
Sincerely,
Catlady33875

7 Chemical-Free Fixes for Common Lawn Problems

Huge brown spots on our lawn were caused by a grub problem. Two years ago, our lawn was nearly wiped out in one whole section. My husband and I put down milky spore disease. (Our neighbors thought we were crazy because we had to block off 4'x 4' squares and put down 1 tsp of the powder.) It took two days for our property, but our lawn keeps getting better and the Japanese beetles have been significantly less. Milky spore powder is a bit expensive, but its benefits are supposed to last for many years.

Also, Milky Spore is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets or man and won't affect wells, ponds or streams.

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