What say Dedham about more carbon capture, better water retention and greener emerald bracelets?
The Ocean River Institute’s Natural Lawn Care for Healthy Soils Challenge is a friendly competition with towns to pledge to keep established lawns natural by forgoing the use of quick-release fertilizer and chemical pesticides and herbicides. Established lawns do not need quick-release fertilizer. The Department of Agricultural Resources recommends one application of 100% slow-release fertilizer in the spring or fall.
The Ocean River Institute’s goal is for more natural lawns to provide refuge and natural corridors for more wildlife to create bigger and more emerald bracelets for Dedham to compliment Boston’s Emerald Necklace.
ORI summer interns have found sixteen reasons why not put fertilizer on the lawn during summer months. On July 26, in Brookline, the top ten reasons for not spreading fertilizer on established residential lawns were:
#Ten. Fertilizer kills beneficial nematodes.
#Nine. Natural lawns can build an inch of soil in a year.
#Eight. Natural lawns found to have 36 species of plants between the blades of grass.
#Seven. Save Water, need not water natural lawns.grass browns while roots stay alive.
#Six. Saved Money (save time, effort, and less fossil fuel use).
#Five. Stop nutrient (fertilizer) runoff polluting waterways, feeding algae blooms.
#Four. Natural lawns have greater biodiversity, more animal species.
#Three. Living in natural, non-watered lawns were found 94 species of bees.
#Two. Mycorrhizal fungi networks, the wood wide web, capture more carbon.
#ONE. Improved wildlife habitats when fertilizer is not applied to established lawns.