The lawn is a relatively new obsession when it comes to landscapes. It’s estimated that there are over 40 million acres of lawn in the US. That’s a lot of grass. And as any lawn owners know, that’s a lot of maintenance to go with all that grass.
However, the lawn industry has been pretty good at convincing us that some common lawn problems need to be fixed to achieve that perfect lawn look. Well, it’s time to change that.
Here are some common lawn problems that simply don’t need fixing.
1. Clover Is A Friend
Clover is a legume. Most legumes can turn atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which is a form of nitrogen that plants can absorb. Nitrogen, as you may know, is a primary component of fertilizer. So, when a clover shows up on your lawn, it’s an indicator that your lawn is lacking nitrogen.
Instead of swooping in to destroy the clover that’s just trying to help out, do this instead. Let it grow. Before the clover sets seed, mow it. Here’s the important part; leave the clover plant matter to decompose in place. This will release the captured nitrogen back into the soil, reducing the need for clover to resprout in the same place.
2. Forget About Raking
Instead, set your mower to the mulching setting. This will chop the grass clippings up into smaller pieces so that they decompose faster. This also prevents the grass clippings from smothering your lawn. By leaving your grass clippings in place, you’ll get a healthier lawn with less maintenance required after a season or two of adjusting.
3. Leave The Dandelions, Too
Besides this, dandelions are nutrient powerhouses for pretty much all living things. Pollinators love them and will flock to dandelions in flowers. They are highly nutritious for humans, too, with all parts of the plant being edible. If you must get rid of dandelions on your lawn, at least eat them.
Dandelions have long, strong taproots. Something you’re aware of if you’ve tried to pull one out by hand. That long taproot penetrates deep into the soil, aerating the soil and mining nutrients deep down that aren’t available to other shallow-rooted plants, like grass.
So if you see dandelions on your lawn, rejoice that nature is doing what nature does. Even better, show your child how to disperse the seeds by blowing on the fluffy plants.
4. Fun With Fungi
First off, it’s almost impossible to get rid of mushrooms, so don’t waste your time. Yes, you can soak your lawn with all sorts of fungicides. But the mushrooms you see are the fruiting bodies of extensive underground fungal networks, so it’s unlikely, if not impossible, to get rid of this fungal network.
Here’s the good news: mushrooms are good guys. They’re pivotal in breaking down all matter of organic material into nutrients that surrounding plants can absorb. They also transport sugars and starches between the roots of different plants. They’re amazing organisms, and before declaring a war on mushrooms, learn about fungi and the vital role they play in the ecosystem.
On the topic of their potential poisoning, maybe you can use this as a learning opportunity for your family; don’t eat unknown mushrooms. If you have access to a mushroom expert in your area, invite them around after a rainy spell to help you identify the mushrooms growing on your lawn. You never know, your new favorite ingredient may be growing right there under your nose.
5. Snow Mold
The good news is that snow mold is not particularly harmful to your grass. It will also die as the temperatures continue to rise. So it’s really not worth spending any time trying to combat snow mold.
Wrap It Up
To make your lawn maintenance less of a chore, ask yourself what common lawn problems need fixing. Clover and dandelions don’t have much of an effect on the quality or usability of your lawn. They both make your lawn healthier.
The biggest challenge here is shifting your mindset around the lawn. Fertilizer and pesticide companies want you to believe that a perfectly level, dark green monoculture of a lawn is the only acceptable result so that you buy more of their products. But ask yourself, are free, yellow flowers that much of an enemy?
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