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Five Steps for a Healthier Lawn

Five Steps for a Healthier Lawn
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Dublin, New Hampshire (April 2008)–Lawn-care practices that use pesticides, herbicides, and
synthetic fertilizers are hazardous, according to “A Kinder, Gentler Lawn,” by Meg Mitchell
Moore and Theresa Sullivan Barger, published online in [YankeeMagazine.com's "Home and
Garden" section]. Organizations such as the Maine-based nonprofit SafeLawns Foundation,
Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), Connecticut-based Safelawns and Landscapes,
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), and others encourage organic lawn care and
gardening.

“Most of our nation’s 50 million acres of lawn are grown with synthetic fertilizers and
pesticides, which are known to pollute soil and water, and to cause health problems in both
people and animals,” according to SafeLawns. Paul Tukey, cofounder of SafeLawns, states,
“Americans are spreading millions of tons of toxic materials and wasting enormous amounts of
fossil fuels, all in the name of having a beautiful lawn.”

Paul Tukey, also a NOFA instructor, organic landscaper, and author of The Organic Lawn Care
Manual, and Bill Duesing, Connecticut NOFA executive director, provided Yankee Magazine with
the following five steps toward a healthier lawn:

  1. TEST: Contact your local garden extension service for a soil-test kit (about $5), which
    measures pH level and recommends amendments.

  2. PLANT: Overseed spring and fall with a mixture of grasses suited to the climate. Include
    clover in the spring because it adds nitrogen naturally. Perennial rye grass and fescues are
    good for New England’s climate fluctuations. Fill in bare spots with grass seed to leave
    less room for weeds and crabgrass.

  3. CUT: Sharpen the lawnmower’s blade annually and set it at 3 to 3
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