Safer lawn care for both your family and Mother Nature

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Many people are rethinking how they care for their yard by cutting back on lawn chemicals and fertilizers. Consumer Reports has some easy strategies to improve the health of your lawn and make it safer for your family and the environment.

It may seem counterintuitive, but cut back on watering your lawn. Watering less will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots and develop resistance to drought. And because watering at night can actually promote fungus, water only during the early morning.

And while it gets a bad rap, clover is especially good for your lawn. It adds nitrogen and keeps other weeds at bay.

When it’s time to mow, CR’s lawn-care experts advise you keep the grass a little taller, about 3 or 4 inches. Keep the blades on your mower sharp and use the mulching mode, which will cut the grass into fine clippings and deposit them back into the soil. Grass clippings actually contain many of the same nutrients found in chemical-based fertilizers.

And CR says that when it comes to planting your garden, embrace native plants! They have evolved to thrive exactly where they are. And they’ll attract local birds, and beneficial insects and pollinators.

Finally, if you have the space, add a compost pile or bin to recycle table scraps and garden waste. You’ll be rewarded with nutrient-rich compost that your plants and lawn will love.

Consumer Reports reminds us that lawn care will vary widely depending on climate, sun exposure, and the types of soil and grass you have. So consider reaching out to a local cooperative extension service for advice more tailored to your lawn. We’ll have a link to find one near you on our website.

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