Getting a lush, green lawn that's relatively weed-free does not have to cost a lot of money or take all your time every weekend. There are some easy home remedies that help keep your lawn healthy and reduce the need for harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers. By making a few ecologically sound changes in your lawn care habits, you can make your lawn healthy and green.
Homemade Fertilizer Tea
Grass requires a lot of nitrogen, which is why most synthetic fertilizers contain a high percentage of this element. Manure tea is a cheap fertilizer you can make at home. It doesn't have an obnoxious, lingering smell like plain manure, and there are no harmful chemicals in manure. Any kind of manure will do so long as it has been aged for at least a year to kill any pathogens. To make a fertilizer tea, scoop a large shovelful of manure into a cloth bag. Tie up the bag and place it in a 5-gallon container full of water. Let it sit for at least three days until the water turns brown, and stir it around once or twice a day to mix in some oxygen. This solution is very nitrogen-rich. To avoid burning the grass, dilute the solution to one part tea to five parts clean water. Spray it on your lawn in the spring and fall to feed the grass and improve the topsoil.
Another home remedy for improving your lawn's topsoil is to save the clippings after mowing. Rather than bagging them up and hauling them to the trash, simply take the bag off your mower and let the clippings fall onto the grass. Not only is this less work for you, the clippings are a free source of nutrients and organic material. If you let your lawn grow a little too long and the clippings land in clumps, use a rake or a push-broom to sweep them in. They should disappear into the soil within a few days. The Ohio State University Extension Service encourages gardeners to recycle lawn clippings in this way because they can provide up to 30 percent of your lawn's yearly nitrogen requirements, which means you will pay less for fertilizer, and fewer nitrates end up in the groundwater.
Coffee Quick Fix
If your lawn is looking a little pale or if you have large brown patches, coffee grounds are a nitrogen-rich quick fix that will green it up in a couple of weeks. You can save coffee grounds from your kitchen, and many cafes and coffeehouses save their used grounds in separate bags to give away to gardeners. Apply 3 lb. grounds per 1,000 square feet of grass. Throw the coffee around the lawn with a shovel, sweep it in with a broom and water it in. Coffee not only makes the grass greener, it encourages earthworms which will improve your soil by aerating it and filling it with nutritious worm castings.