Do you love to have a beautiful lawn but don’t have enough time to water, fertilize, and mow it every other day? Well, if it is the case, start planting an environment-friendly and low-maintenance lawn for the coming year. It will give you a head start and help you save a lot of money with less effort.
All You Need to Know About an Eco-Lawn.
An eco-lawn is an excellent alternative to conventional lawns. Usually, you need to provide a lot of water and chemical fertilizer to these lawns if you want to see them green during the growing season. However, an eco-lawn is a combination of species and breeds of grasses and other plants that are neither dependent too much on fertilizers nor need a lot of water.
A seed blend is also known as eco-lawn. It is a blend made up of fescues that can be used to produce a greener and healthier lawn with a lot less care and almost 50% less mowing and water requirement.
Although there are many branded products available that you can use to grow an eco-lawn, such as pro-time lawn seed, you can also make your mix.
What is the Best Time to Plant This Lawn?
The best time to grow an eco-lawn is during fall, when the weather is moist and cool and getting wetter. This is an excellent season to plant the eco-lawn as it would have low competition from weeds.
You can plant it in springtime, but as the weather gets warmer, you must water it frequently until the lawn is established. The perfect temperature for planting eco-lawn is approximately18 C or 65 F for higher elevations. The best season for planting this lawn is between November and January in California.
The purpose of planting during a particular period is to allow your seeds to germinate without any hurdles and set their roots.
The Soil Required for Eco Lawns.
The best soil to start your eco-lawn is healthy soil. This will give you a head start, and you wouldn’t need to input much effort to get a lush green lawn. Although lawns usually do not require high nutrients, they can perform much better when they are provided with the nutrients during their first year. It is also vital that the soil allows its roots to grow and spread.
The roots of fine fescues blend usually grow much more profound than conventional lawns. The deeper roots of these lawns prevent them from drying out and let them uptake nutrients efficiently from different soil layers.
It is why eco lawns cannot be sold in the form of sod. If you cut their extensive root system, the plant would die. The best and most probably the only way to grow an eco-lawn is to use seeds.
Perform a simple squeeze test to provide the best start to your eco-lawn with healthy soil. Take a handful of dirt and compress it in your fist.
- If the soil is sticky and when you let go, it remains intact- it is clay soil.
- If you feel that the soil is gritty and crumbles when you let it go, it is sandy soil.
- If the feel of the soil is smooth and it holds its shape for a short period, it is silty or loamy soil.
You can quickly amend it as you now know what type of soil you have. Here are some simple tips to prepare your site:
- If your soil is too sandy, add a 3-inch layer of topsoil. It will help your lawn in establishing quickly.
- If the ground is clay, adding a layer of straw mulch or peat moss is helpful. Do it after sowing of seeds as it will help prevent moisture evaporation.
- If the soil is silty or loamy, you don’t have to make much effort as it has already got what it needs to grow an eco-lawn. Adding organic compost will provide your lawn with the nutrients that will help it grow in the first year.
Planting a New Lawn
To plant a new lawn, start with eliminating the weeds from your site by any means; smothering, hand pulling, etc. Next, rake away the debris like twigs and leaf litter, and till your site up to the depth of 3 inches.
- Rake the site again to ensure a clean and smooth surface to start with.
- Do not sow on steep surfaces as it may cause an easy wash away of nutrients.
- Use an organic compost or turf starter to fertilize the area. A ¼ inch layer of the fertilizer is enough to provide your lawn with the required nutrients.
- Sow the seeds according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For small areas, use hands to sow the seeds. For a more extensive lawn, use a fertilizer spreader with half of your sources while you progress lengthwise and progress width-wise with the remaining half seeds. It will ensure even coverage.
- Now rake the soil and roll in using a lawn roller.
Covering an Existing Lawn
Suppose you want to convert your existing lawn into an eco-lawn. In that case, you can either do it by overseeding into your current grass (it is a slow process and might take years) or by removing your existing lawn and replacing it with an eco-lawn (it is a quick process, and your eco-lawn would be ready within a year).
Overseeding. If you don’t mind waiting for long to replace your existing lawn with an eco-lawn, overseeding is a good way. You need to follow the following:
- First, mow your existing grass as short as possible, preferably 1 to 2 inches.
- Clean the area and remove debris and leaf litter.
- Spread a thin layer of compost over the place where you will seed.
- Repeat the process for four to five years every year until your lawn is predominantly fine fescues.
- You may need to mow the existing lawn until it becomes an eco lawn.
- You can speed up the conversion by overseeding twice a year.
Removing the Current Lawn and Replacing. If you prefer to start on a blank slate, but your lawn is full of conventional grass, remove it with any following methods.
- Spray your lawn with an organic herbicide once a week for eight weeks. Once the property is dead, mow the grass as short as possible and rake the area to rough the soil surface. Sow the eco-lawn seeds. Rake them into the soil and use a roller to flatten the earth.
- Strip your old lawn off the soil to a depth of 2.5 to 3 inches, rake or rototill the ground and create a level bed. Spread the seeds, rake them into the earth, and flatten them above.
How to Water an Eco-Lawn?
Your newly planted eco-lawn need water every day for the first month unless it rains. What is the best time for watering? It is early in the morning when there is less evaporation. Water in such a way that the soil of about 1-inch depth gets moist.
- If you have planted the seeds in the fall, stop watering after one month. Fall rains will cover the water requirement. However, during unseasonable dry periods, you would need to water.
- If you have planted your eco-lawn in spring, continue watering it during the dry periods for a year.
In most parts of the US, after one year of growth of your eco-lawn, water the lawn only during drought to keep it green. However, if you live in drier regions like California, you may need to reduce watering by 75%.
When to Mow?
Your easy-to-care eco-friendly lawn doesn’t need mowing. But if you want, you can still mow it.
- If you like the look of a conventional lawn, you can indeed mow the property, but make sure not to cut more than ⅓ of its growth. Otherwise, you will stress the plant, and it would have to struggle. On the other hand, as an eco-lawn grown more slowly than a conventional lawn, you would not need much mowing in general.
- If you like a natural look, let it be and only cut it twice a year – after its first year – once in spring and once in fall.
The Last Words
A lot of people are switching to eco-lawns from conventional lawns. These lawns have many benefits as they are low-maintenance and are highly drought-tolerant. In addition, with their beautiful green color, these lawns are easygoing with less water requirement because of their deep root system. If you have any questions regarding eco-lawns, feel free to contact us, and we will help you out.