A Naked Lawn is a Healthy Lawn

Why not make this the year you go au naturel?

There’s a movement afoot encouraging more sustainable landscapes, or yards that survive on homemade compost, natural pesticides and rain water.

Many of us already realize the benefits of a sustainable landscape – traditional fertilizers and pesticides can pollute our drinking water and harm our pets. But truly embracing this idea that a landscape can thrive with minimal input and more in harmony with nature involves letting go of some fundamental beliefs. In other words, we need to change our mindset, starting with our current concept of lawns.

Nowhere in nature does a monoculture exist for any length of time. That is, you don’t need to fret obsessively over weeds. They are normal, natural and green!

Another misconception is that all plants must be watered weekly, or they will die. We heard this quite a bit last summer. The truth is plants must be watered in accordance with their needs and location. That’s all.

Properly planted, well-established perennials require – at most – a good soaking twice a month in the absence of rainfall. Native trees require a good deal less. Just recall our highways and fields once rains returned in September. While a small percentage of native plants died, most simply went dormant and bounced back as soon as it rained.

So as you consider your plans for the upcoming growing season, why not make this the year you go au naturel? A self-sustaining landscape is not only less work, but more visually captivating too. Let nature be your gardener – that sounds pretty healthy to me.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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