Sustaining your lawn in a world that idealizes unsustainable beauty
Tell me where you’re going to find a 2,000-10,000 square-foot patch of Kentucky Bluegrass, neatly contained with sharp edges, kept at a length of 2-3 inches at all times, with no other vegetation allowed to penetrate the borders. No where! Not in the woods, not in the rain forest, not in the desert, not in the tropics, not even on the prairie. Oh sure, there are pastures, where animals graze on grass, but there’s nothing quite like a lawn anywhere outside urban, suburban and even rural residential areas. It’s entirely a man-made construct.
Lawns as we know them– closely-cut areas of grass– first emerged in 17th century England, where they were a status symbol of the aristrocracy. The nobility could show off that they could afford land that contained neither buildings nor food. The lawn was born as a recreational area, which is what remains today. Sort of a shag carpeting for outdoor living.
But no matter how you slice it, it ain’t natural. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having a lush green lawn as much as the next suburban dweller, but the standards we have set for our lawns have become nearly unsustainable. Anything less than a uniform blanket of perfectly green grass blades is seen as an ugly failure.
And that’s why we’ve become so reliant on chemicals. If it’s not brilliantly green from April until November? Failure. If clover appears? Failure. If success isn’t instant? Failure. But those chemical fertilizers, as we’ve said before, are actually killing your yard’s plant life because those chemicals are killing the microorganisms and fungi and bugs in our soil. Those critters are vital to a healthy ecosystem. Our planet thrived because of those critters long before chemical fertilizers arrived on the scene.
Not putting those chemicals on your lawn this year would be the first step toward restoring life to your soil.
But here’s the thing: Just stopping the chemicals won’t necessarily give you society’s version of a perfect lawn. Why? Because lawns require a lot of nutrients, and they take a lot of abuse from foot traffic and pets and mother nature (winters, draughts, etc). Chemical fertilizers are one option to give your lawn the nutrients they need, but as I said, the chemicals actually do more damage than good. They weaken the roots, they compact the soil, they cause thatch, they cause your lawn to become chemically dependent, they pollute the environment and can make you and your pets sick.
So while getting rid of the chemicals will slowly allow those vital microorganisms to return to your soil, there probably will never be enough of them naturally-occurring in your soil to give you that “wow” lawn. Like I said, lawns are unnatural, and so the dirt it grows in doesn’t, on its own, have the capacity to effectively feed and support the grass.
So what do we do to make our lawn look great, without adding chemicals to it? We apply Worm Tea as an organic microbial soil drench– Worm Tea can have a billion of those beneficial microorganisms and fungi living and breathing in one teaspoonful. Imagine what regularly applying Worm Tea to your yard could do for your soil! It could increase the amount of those wonderful microorganisms a thousandfold, or more, in just one season of regular applications! And when you add grass clippings or our Organic Fertilizer treatments, those microbes eat and process that organic matter.
And why is that important? Because those microorganisms break down organic matter in and under your grass– clippings, leaves, worm castings, compost– and release nutrients into your soil for your lawn to soak up. Worm Tea is basically delivering billions of nutrient factories to your lawn.
So to reiterate: those microorganisms will always exist in a chemical-free lawn, but there probably won’t ever be enough to sustain a truly healthy lawn all year. To get that healthy lawn, you need healthy soil, and to get soil healthy and nutrient-rich enough to sustain a beautiful lawn, you need to infuse it with more, more, more microorganisms! Worm Tea does it.