Earth-friendly Lawn Tips

Woman's feet in the grass

How we go about lawn care can greatly impact the environment. With a few simple steps, you can make your lawn earth-friendly — and save time and money.

  • Use native plants — Decrease your mowing area by planting native flowerbeds and shrubs. Native plants require little or no maintenance, and less water, fertilizer and pesticide than grass.
  • Tune up your lawn mower — Routine lawn maintenance contributes significantly to air pollution in Greater Kansas City.
  • Compost yard waste — Composting reduces strain on our landfills, water pollution, and provides a nourishing additive for your garden. Consider grasscycling – Recycling grass clippings by leaving them on your lawn instead of bagging and disposing of them has numerous lawn care and environmental benefits.
  • Use lawn chemicals sparingly — When lawn chemicals are applied improperly, they run off into streams, harming fish and other animals and contaminating our drinking water.
  • Test your soil — Have your soil tested before using fertilizers to prevent over-application or using chemicals your lawn may not need.
  • Dispose of chemicals properly — The health and safety of individuals, communities, and the environment is put at risk when household hazardous waste products — including lawn fertilizers and pesticides — are discarded improperly. Check for more information on the safest way to dispose of chemicals.
  • Pick up after your pet — If not disposed of properly, pet waste containing harmful bacteria flows into streams and lakes every time it rains, posing a danger to human health and aquatic life.

For more healthy lawn actions, watch our 30-second video.

Use Lawn Chemicals Wisely

What are common lawn chemicals?

Lawn chemicals are the fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides used in lawn and garden care. When lawn chemicals are applied improperly, excess chemicals run off into streams, harming fish and other animals and contaminating our drinking water.

Reducing lawn chemical use

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to lessen the effect lawn chemicals have on water quality:

  • Landscape with native plants, grasses and flower species. A native lawn reduces or eliminates the need for lawn chemicals.
  • Test the soil for nutrient deficiencies before using fertilizers.
  • Read labels on lawn chemicals carefully and always apply products sparingly. Using extra products does not provide extra benefits.
  • Allow proper drying time for liquid chemicals, and never use lawn chemicals when heavy rainfall is expected.
  • Use caution on slopes and lawn edges so fertilizer will not wash into nearby storm sewers or waterways.
  • Consider compost or natural lawn chemical alternatives. Composting creates a natural, slow-release fertilizer and soil-enhancing material.
  • Contact your county extension service for more information on lawn chemical use.

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