What is the relationship between a salmon and your lawn?
Did you know that:
- Lawn and garden watering make up more than 30% of our summer water use.
- Grass clippings can supply at least 25% of your lawn's fertilizer needs.
Your home lawn and Port Moody streams, home to salmon, are connected. If you use too much water or too many chemicals, it may hurt salmon habitats. Try a natural approach to your lawn - you can have a healthy, good-looking lawn and be a good neighbour, too.
Six Steps for natural lawn care
- Mow high, mow often and leave the clippings.
- Mowing higher (2-2.5 inches) will help to develop deeper roots and crowd out weeds. A lawn with deeper roots will be more resistant to disease, and tolerate some insect and drought damage.
- Remove only one-third of the grass length at each cutting. Cutting too much at once stresses the grass.
- Leave the clipping on the lawn, "Grasscycling" provides free fertilizer. You can grasscycle with your existing mower. For best results, keep the blade sharp, mow when the grass is dry, and mow more frequently in the spring. If there are clumps, mow again to break them up.
- Fertilize moderately in September and May with a "natural organic" or "slow-release" fertilizer.
- Slow release fertilizers release nutrients into the lawn slowly which reduces leaching or runoff into our streams. Look for the words "natural organic" or "slow release" on the bag.
- Remember that healthy lawns are a medium green colour. The darkest green turf is overfertilized and prone to disease, thatch build-up, and drought damage.
- Test the soil first to determine if there is a calcium deficiency or acid soil conditions before fertilizing.
- Water thoroughly, but infrequently to encourage deeper roots.
- Avoid frequent shallow watering that leads to shallow rooting. Overwatering promotes lawn disease, leeches nutrients from the soil and wastes water.
- Newly planted lawns require daily watering, plant in September if possible.
- Aerate your lawn if water won't penetrate because of soil compaction.
- Water about 2.5 centimetres per week in July and August. Water early in the morning to reduce water loss from evaporation.
- Consider allowing your lawn to go brown and dormant during the summer but remember to water deeply and slowly once each month. Avoid heavy traffic on dormant areas.
- Improve lawns with aeration and overseeding, or consider fixing the soil and replanting.
- Aerate compacted soil in the spring or fall to improve root development.
- Overseed after raking or aerating with a perennial rye/fine fescue mix designed for the Lower Mainland.
- April/May or September are the best months to aerate and overseed, or to amend the soil and replant the lawn.
- Think twice before using pesticides.
- These products may damage our soil and pollute our waterways.
- Crowd out weeds and reduce pest damage by promoting a healthy lawn through proper fertilization, irrigation and mowing.
- Consider accepting a few "weeds" in your lawn.
Remove problem weeds by hand in the spring or fall. Pull dandelions when they are young, getting as much of the root as possible.
- If absolutely necessary, spray-spot problem weeds with the proper herbicides. Read the label carefully.
- Consider alternatives to lawns for steep slopes, shady areas, or near streams and lakes.
- Locate a buffer of natural vegetation along streams and lakes to filter pollutants and protect fish and wildlife. The buffer should include shrubs, trees and groundcover - the area should be left unmowed.
For safe disposal of leftover pesticides, please contact the B.C. Recycling Hotline at 604.732.9253. For Port Moody residents, the closest recycling facility is the Biggar Bottle Depot in Port Coquitlam at 604.945.3313.
For more information, e-mail Environmental Services or call 604.469.4610. Brochures are available at City Hall.
Tips on Natural Lawn Care for the Lower Mainland provided by Metro Vancouver.