The excerpt below is by Dr. David Dobbins, Emeritus Professor of Plant Anatomy and Development, Morphology, and Horticulture at Millersville University in Pennsylvania is APCI’s spring reminder to landscape organically. Following the excerpt, are six easy steps to regenerative organic landscaping.
Protect your health and Mother Nature, who sustains all life!
“I grew up in the city of Indianapolis with little exposure to nature and had no real interest in the environment. My friends and I burned trash in a barrel, dumped oil and other items down the sewer, and threw garbage into vacant lots. Everyone did.
All that changed when the Boy Scouts took me camping in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois. Going camping inspired both my enthusiasm for nature and my career as a researcher and professor of biology, botany, horticulture, and environmental science.
For 20 years, I conducted research in the rain forests of Australia and Central and South America. While studying and teaching, my mind kept returning to the same question: “How had our lives become so nonbiological and unnatural?”
Throughout my career, I’ve noticed stark changes in people’s attitudes. In our headlong rush to raise our standard of living, we have completely shortchanged our quality of life.
We bought houses with lawns that we admire but have no idea how to maintain. Our lawns consist of one species: grass. No ecosystem in the world consists of one species!
To maintain what is unnatural, we poison it with increasingly toxic and ineffective herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers.
Fighting nature has led to the wholesale pollution of our air, soil, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and coastal areas–and is jeopardizing the health and safety of human beings, animals, and non-target plants.
How can we restore and protect our environment? Grow native woods, meadows, and rain or wildflower gardens. Beautiful and self-sustaining, these ecosystems provide natural habitats for the numerous organisms that form the bulk of our food chain.
Meanwhile, in urban and suburban areas, where lawns may still be the landscaping standard, go green. Native landscapes are less expensive and easier to maintain than chemically treated landscapes. They are also safer, healthier, and, like wild parks, more beautiful.” – Dr. David Dobbins
Here are 7 Steps to Regenerative Organic Landscaping:
Let chemically treated lawns lie fallow for a year or two to withdraw from their chemical dependency, the way some addicts withdraw from drugs.
Raise your standards for health and beauty. Bring the restorative tranquility of wild parks into your own property.
Before treating your lawn, test your soil and identify the nutrients it may need.
Many states will test your soil at no charge. In Pennsylvania, you can buy a $9 soil testing kit at the county offices of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and submit your soil samples for a free analysis.
If your lawn is compacted, aerate or oxygenate it to improve drainage and restore its natural vitality.
Use an aerator with hollow tines. Solid tines may further compact your soil. When your lawn is healthfully regenerative and organic, aeration will be self-sustaining.
If recommended by your soil analysis, add agricultural lime.
Lime adds nutrients and turns your grass a more vibrant green. Avoid costly carbon-releasing chemicals that kill the healthy microorganisms in your soil, and poison our air, land, and water. Rather than prevent weeds, herbicides deaden your soil and exacerbate the conditions that promote weeds.
If necessary over the summer, apply an organic mix of the fertilizer recommended in your soil analysis. Use only products approved by health and environment scientists at the nonprofit, Beyond Pesticides in Washington, D.C. Beyond Pesticides helps to protect public health and the environment.
Especially in recreational areas and vegetable gardens, hand weed.
To eliminate or reduce the need for hand weeding, and mulch that can attract termites, grow native spreading shrubs or self-seeding meadow grasses, ground covers, wildflowers, and plants.
Avoid weakening your lawn by micromanaging it.
Allow your grass to grow 3.5 inches or higher. This leaves your grass with nutrient-rich blades tall enough to shade out weed seeds. A thick turf can sustain itself.
In autumn, seed or over-seed your entire lawn or just areas that are weedy or bare.
Bulk grass seed ranges in price from $40 to $200 for 50 pounds. Shop around for the variety of high-quality seeds your lawn needs.
I encourage homeowners and landscapers who have taken the lead in regenerative organic landscaping to persevere for the year or more it may take for their chemically treated property to return to its healthful wild beauty. No progress is greater than that which restores and protects our environment and improves the quality of all life!
How is regenerative organic landscaping protecting and beautifying your property? Please share your tips with us in the comments section below!
(Original Source for this Article: http://www.aggieperilli.com/blog/2018/04/05/regenerative-organic-lawn-care/)