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Green Supplies for Lawns and Gardens

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

You used to take pride in having a green thumb. Now, you're delighted to say that your lawn and garden techniques are ecologically green. If you've decided to take the environmentally friendly path to lawn care, enjoy the healthy abundance of green resources, from organic fertilizers and push mowers to non-toxic weed control.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Starting with lawn fertilizers, you can find metabolic growth stimulators with organic matter (bone meal, soybean meal, gypsum, potassium sulfate, and hydrolyzed poultry feathers) that offer a slow release of nitrogen in a 9-3-4 mixture.

Manufactures say that, unlike synthetic fertilizers, these organic lawn care products promote healthy growth and help fight lawn stress without burning your grass. Some organic fertilizers yield the same growth results as commercial synthetics, yet they improve the soil conditions over time.

The Reel Truth about Lawn Mowers
The Environmental Protection Agency says that American's use more than 800 million gallons of polluting gasoline in their lawn mowers each year. If you're truly into lawn care, you probably want to use a reel mower. Today's push mowers are much lighter than the ones you remember from childhood, weighing in between 20 and 30 pounds.

The mowers cut like a pair of scissors--rather than chopping the grass--so they're easier on the lawn than powered machines. You can order grass catchers for them, or let the clippings flutter to the lawn where they return nutrients to the soil and help retain moisture.

Weed Control Goes Green
The greenest way to control weeds, of course, is to pull them by hand, yanking out the roots. Unfortunately, weeds love the same organic nutrients as grass, so you typically have too many to pull. That means you may have to use a spot killer if you want to control outbreaks without having to use chemicals over your entire lawn.

There are non-selective weed killer products on the market that claim to have less toxic impact than synthetic commercial sprays and applications. One manufacturer has introduced a non-toxic product comprised of fatty acid compounds that are said to do the job efficiently without compromising soil conditions or poisoning adjacent plants (or pets). Of course, one way to keep a healthy lawn is to test your soil and make appropriate amendments. Natural and organic products can regulate soil pH and acidity. These include oyster shell lime (to raise pH) and elemental sulfur (to lower it). Gypsum can be used to increase drainage and root penetration in heavy clay soils.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



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