Fall Tips for a Pesticide Free Yard
With this year’s drought, growing water-wise, pollinator-friendly yards is more important than ever. Whether you’re investing in water conservation landscaping or working on maintaining the vitality of your lawn after our extreme summer, going pesticide free can help keep your yard – and community – healthy and flourishing.
Pesticides can pose health risks, especially for children, pregnant women, and older populations. Many pesticides are also linked to declines in bird and pollinator populations. Eliminating the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers is a great step towards protecting our community from harmful chemicals.
Establishing a healthy organic yard may require a little extra work up front, and fall is the perfect time to get started!
We’ve gathered some of our best tips and resources to help you restore soil health in your yard and eliminate pesticides in your lawn care. Check it out!
Flip Your Strip and LocalScapes: Water-Wise & Native Plants
With record breaking heat and drought, many of us are ready to swap out turf for more drought resistant plants. This summer, Salt Lake City’s Public Utilities Department announced two new ways to introduce water wise plants into your yard. The Utah Water Savers’ Flip Your Strip and LocalScapes programs offer rebates to homeowners who remove lawn and replace it with water wise landscaping.
Native and water-wise plants are ideal for building a healthy, pesticide free yard. Moreover, they help make yards into pollinator-friendly spaces.
Pesticide Free Lawns Are Possible
If you do have a lawn, you can employ the following tips to help it be healthier, use less water, and eliminate harmful chemicals. While it might feel like a lot of work to cut back on fertilizers and pesticides, over time, restoring the ecosystem of your yard will allow you to have a healthier space for your family, and the neighborhood pollinators.
Fall is an important time to focus on root health, which means taking care of the soil. By building healthy nitrogen-rich soil, you can improve your lawn health, help conserve water, and reduce weed growth overtime, making way for a healthier lawn in spring.
Here are a few tips for restoring the soil in your yard:
- Add nutrients to the soil is by adding 1/4 inch of compost to your lawn in early fall and then again in the spring.
- You can also use a liquid molasses/water mix on your grass to feed the healthy microbes in the soil!
- Aerate and dethatch your lawn.
- Change your mower height to 3 to 4 inches high and leave the grass clippings to naturally fertilize!
- Incorporate water-wise plants into your landscape.
- Avoid overwatering: give your lawn 1 inch of water a week in September.
You can find even more tips for lawn care in this blog post!
Get into the Science
Are you curious to know more about the reasons pesticides are harmful? Or maybe you’d like to know just why soil health is so critical to growing a beautiful lawn. Check out this recording of a discussion SLCgreen hosted several years ago when we first launched the Pesticide Free SLC program. The video features Beyond Pesticides’ Jay Feldman discussing the many reasons to switch to organic yard care. Chip Osborne also speaks on ways you can have a healthy yard without chemicals.
There are many great tips introduced in this clip. For example, did you know that one of the best ways to keep your grass healthy is by keeping the clover? Sometimes viewed as a weed, white clover is actually beneficial to yard health because its leguminous root system supplies nitrogen to the soil!
If you need a little extra help understanding exactly what your soil needs to stay healthy, Utah State University offers home soil testing.