Today, no matter what your heritage, you’re likely celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in some way. For me, this holiday is not just about green beer and corned beef and cabbage (though those are nice, too); it’s also a reminder of all the green that is to come.
In just a handful of days, spring will have officially sprung. If you’re anything like me, you’re already thinking about all of that outdoor maintenance that has to be done to get your house looking warm-weather ready.
Getting your yard back in shape and keeping it looking good—and “green”—from now right through the hazy days of summer is easy to do with just few quick suggestions.
Rid yourself of your gas-powered lawn mower. Consider a manual or electric-powered mower to help stave off the unhealthy emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by gas-powered mowers.
Manual mowers are the least expensive, and easiest to maintain of any type of mower. They are quiet, they’re lightweight and they're easy to operate. The only maintenance they need is an occasional oiling and blade sharpening. Too much back-to-nature for you? Consider this—electric mowers are still quieter, cleaner, greener, and easier to maintain and start than their gas-powered counterparts. Concerned about the cost? Given slight variances for yard size, you can power an electric mower for about $5 in electricity for a whole mowing season. There are no exhaust fumes, so you'll significantly reduce those harmful VOC emissions.
Once that lawn is mowed to perfection, you’ll want to fertilize it. Fertilizing or “feeding” your grass boosts the levels of nitogen and helps to stimulate growth. Most lawn care experts recommend fertilizing at least once or twice a year. You can use an organic lawn fertilizer with a “slow release,” which allows grass to receive a steady flow of nutrients over an extended period of time. Depending on the soil quality in your yard, if it is hard, dry or crusty, sprinkling some over the lawn can help the soil to soak up more water.
Speaking of water—be sure that you are to help maintain a healthy-looking yard without pouring water—and cash—down the drain. Watering down to about 6 inches below the soil level helps your lawn develop deep roots that make it denser and more resistant to drought, weeds and pests. Any deeper than 6 inches just wastes water. Water your lawn in the very early morning so you don't waste water through evaporation. Watering after the sun goes down also reduces evaporation, and waste, but your lawn is more susceptible to mold and fungus if it stays damp overnight. Develop a watering schedule and stick to it. Remember to vary your schedule with rainfall.
Thinking green. Saving green. Growing green. We’re giving a whole new meaning this St. Patrick’s Day.