Sound Lawncare The premise of environmentally sound lawncare
is that a vigorous stand of grass will out-compete most weeds
and be able to withstand damage from fungus and insects. Sound
lawncare begins by selecting appropriate lawn types for your
area and applying the correct horticultural practices to maintain
health. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system accepts
the presence of “pests” as a natural part of the plant/animal
ecosystem and does not seek to eliminate them. The Washington
Toxics Coalition outlined the typical IPM lawn care cycle
shown on this page.
approach to lawn maintenance begins with an understanding
of the physical conditions a lawn requires to thrive. The
lawn area must receive adequate light and the soil must drain.
Test your soil before planting a new lawn or before seeding
or fertilizing an established lawn. Call your local WSU Cooperative
Extension agent for assistance, or purchase a soil test kit
at your local garden store. The soil test will tell you if
your soil needs fertilizer and/or lime.
(acidity/alkalinity) of the soil should fall within a range
of 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic). Puget Sound soils are usually
too acidic. Limestone is added to lower the acidity. The soil
must contain adequate nutrients. If tests show low nutrient
levels, the correct amount and type of fertilizer should be
added. Finally, a source of water is needed to maintain adequate
lawns or reseeding, the selection of the proper grass seed
or sod is important. In the Puget Sound basin, varieties of
perennial rye grass and turf-type, fine-leaf fescues are the
choice. Seeding a new lawn is initially less expensive than
sod, but takes longer to grow and may require weed control
measures. September is the best time to seed. The next best
time, though a poor second choice, is March. Sodding provides
immediate erosion control and can be used at least a month
sooner than a seeded area. Purchase sod fresh, avoid the stacks
sitting in the sun in front of your garden center. Detailed
information on varieties and installation may be found in
the WSU Cooperative Extension publications listed in the resource
box at the end of this chapter.
IPM Lawncare Cycle
Learn the pests in your area.
Establish threshold levels for these pests.
Monitor the pests to determine levels and potential problems.
Maintain a healthy lawn by following prescribed maintenance
If pest problems appear to be approaching the threshold,
adjust maintenance practices to improve lawn health.
If adjustment of maintenance practices is not effective,
use the least toxic biological or chemical control.
Evaluate and record all treatments.
Review records and current WSU Cooperative Extension literature
to fine-tune maintenance practices.