MowGreen Guide – 21 Ways to Clean & Serene
Lawncare season is here and going green is key for pollution reduction. The average lawn is kept by gasoline machines that emit 4-5 tons of carbon pollution per year, or the equivalent of an extra car on the road per home – not good for severe weather and climate change! MowGreen’s LawnCare is Carbon Neutral!
Green LawnCare Checklist:
1. Mowing – Reel mowing is the greenest way, but solar charged battery powered rotary mowers have some advantages. A mix of the two make sense. We do both according to best practices and your preferences.
MowGreen invented a double and triple reel mower push gang kit (Reel2Reel(tm)) which allows a single person to mow an acre in two hours. It is a great exercise system too, with tool-less design making it easy to switch between single, double and triple reel mowing. Kits are manufactured in Bridgeport, CT and can be purchased from MowGreen.
Our battery powered electric mulching mowers are charged from Solar and 100% green power. We have units that can run all day on a battery with a single charge and can mow an acre in under an hour. Units exist that have solar charging canopies to re-charge while mowing!
Mowing the grass at longer lengths than most, (3 to 4 inches), has been shown to reduce weeds dramatically while maintaining greener, healthier grass that sinks more carbon too. And, regular mowing weekly rather than waiting long periods is healthier because a smaller percentage of the blade is cut each time, creating healthier roots. Longer grass suppresses weeds better too. For every quarter inch below 4 inches of grass length cut, the chance of weed encroachment goes up a couple percent.
Whereas our mowing is carbon neutral, because we charge with solar or other 100% renewable energy, what about the vehicles we haul them with? We buy carbon credits to balance out any gas we use in our vehicles, making us one of the only carbon neutral, or carbon balanced companies in existance.
We offer a variety of high quality grass seed. One interesting type is Pearl’s Premium grass seed (see below under Overseeding), which is rated as one of the slowest growing, deepest rooted varieties, and requires less mowing, water and fertilizer. It is a mix of mostly native fescues. It is also evergreen, so it tends to look good even in the off season.
2. Trimming – Battery-powered string trimmers are clean and serene, and efficient.
3. Light Edging – Some electric trimmers swivel to become light duty edgers to give lawns a great finished look.
4. Sweep up – Electric battery-powered blowers are often as powerful as gas blowers, but clean and quiet!
Most MowGreen clients get the basic four services listed above plus some or all of the following:
5. Soil Samples & Enhancement – we do soil samples and get them lab analyzed with recommended PH control and fertilizer reports. The average report calls for some added N-P-K fertilizer and some lime for PH adjustment and soil biology restoration. A lab in New Haven, the New Haven Agricultural station will accept soil samples and analyze and report on them for different types of plants. Other metrics analyzed in the samples include level of organic matter, soil type and magnesium and calcium levels. We offer organic soil enhancement products which bring dead soil back to life and also adjust soil to meet ideal grass growing conditions. One interesting product introduces probiotics for the soil and some refer to it as a “liquid aerator”.
6. Spring Cleanup – It’s typically done in March or early April, but depends on weather of course. We recommend a light superficial blowing and rake over. The reason aggressive raking in the Spring is discouraged is to avoid disturbing and surfacing weed seeds which may give them a better start.
7. Pre-emergent Weed Control – Corn gluten is effective but must be managed with proper timing. It suppresses new weed growth in Spring and Fall by desiccation, shunting new seed germination, as well as a protein type reaction that suppresses broad leaf weeds especially. When done in Spring, Fall and Spring again, it is reputed to be 90% effective for weed control. A corn gluten meal is available which suppresses weeds and delivers nitrogen and pottasium as a “10-0-2” fertilizer.
8. Fertilizing – Corn gluten is not only a weed suppressor, but a nitrogen fertilizer (N). When combined for weed control and including some grass and leaf mulch mowing, leaving clippings on the lawn, you may not need much fertilizing. Additional fertilizer is often recommended to help boost overseeding success. Some fertilizing is often suggested by our soil sample reports. We use only organic fertilizers, either sprayable or spreadable, with battery powered sprayers, hand pump units and walk behind spreaders.
9. Overseeding – Keeping grass dominant is great weed control, so overseeding 3 weeks before, or 4-5 weeks after corn gluten is applied is often done (Spring). We offer Pearls Premium Ultra Low Maintenance Mix and other top seed mixes tailored to conditions and budget. Pearls is higher-priced but is ranked best for slow growth and less water and fertilizer – it’s evergreen and resilient. A aeration, raking and de-thatching before the seeding makes sense for seed contact with soil for better germination. We often apply a thin layer of compost when we overseed and or straw to help keep grass seed in place and retain moisture. Overseeding is often a good idea in Fall as well.
10. Compost top dressing or compost tea – This is also suggested to add when overseeding to help the seed get a quick start and to create and maintain healthy soil biology.
11. Aeration – Cutting out plugs of soil to provide air to roots keeps them healthy. Especially in high traffic packed down areas, this can make a big difference. We have stilt like dual core cutters that can be walked on like stilts for a great workout and aeration as fast as aeration machines for tight spaces that are hard to reach with an aeration machine. For larger lawns we do electric aeration machines. Aeration can be done any time of year, but not suggested for the heat of summer months.
12. Liming – If you are in New England and haven’t limed lately, your PH is acidic and more hospitable for weeds than grass. 98% of all tests show that lime is needed for good grass growing soil. We use Solucal which spreads quickly and easily and is quite affordable. It is high in calcium and helps quickly restore the soil’s biology. The results are fast and amazing. With our acid rain, Solucal is something to add annually in differing doses, first to assure PH scores are high on your soil samples, and half as much to maintain it that way. Soil for grass should have a PH rating above 6. Most soil tests below that without regular liming. A single bag of Solucal can maintain PH for a large lawn (8,000 s.f.) and spreads in about an hour or less. One bag for 4,000 s.f. raises the PH. This is one of the most important and affordable steps in lawn maintenance (no brainer, about $50, applied).
13. Weed Control – A mix of pulling weeds, spraying with white vinegar or other organic weed killers, or grinding certain ones down with a trimmer before they produce seeds are good methods. Removing weed seeds by hand or with a grass catching mower to keep them off the lawn is good practice. We have citrus based weed killer which is a bit more effective than 5% white vinegar (which needs sunlight to work), while a mix of the citrus weed killer with 20% white vinegar is a great weed killer, but it is not selective, so it will kill grass too.
A new selective organic weed killer has become available, originally called Halo, and now Shield Weed, which kills broad leaf weeds but not grass.
14. Hard Edging – We do hard edging around gardens with manual shovel-like edgers. I think that’s overdone, but we do it. Its great exercise too : ) Light edging is easy with electric trimmers that have swivel heads.
15. Mulching – We use organic mulch and have prepared many a bed. Its worth noting that leaves are a natural mulch for beds, so for innovators, consider skipping the bed leaves removal, and the bark mulch!
16. Compost Areas – Corrals, Pits, Containers, piles, etc., we will help setup composting if you are interested. Your towns are hoping you will compost yard debris on your property to avoid the cost of hauling it all away and concentrating it at a facility. The best way to deal with yard and food waste is to turn it into fertilizer on site!
17. Fall Cleanup – We don’t use gas blowers, but with rakes and
solar/green power charged battery blowers, we are competitive for cleanup. Making an area on your property to pile the debris can save alot of time and effort and make rich compost additive for your soil. Also consider using leaves as natural mulch in your beds rather than removing it and replacing with wood mulch. We always mow in mulch mode, so mulch mowing leaves can dramatically reduce the bulk and feed the soil, making fall cleanup a lot more productive.
18. Gardening – We would love to help you reduce your lawn and replace some of it with native plants. Less lawn mowing, more food growing! We partner with specialists in this area and there are many great options. MowGreen has reduced the lawn at HQ with raised bed vegetable and herb gardens as well as wild raspberry and blueberry patches.
19. Hedging – We have solar/green power charged battery hedgers consistent with our mission and your sanity.
20. Pruning – We do pruning required with some manual loppers and saws and also solar/green power charged battery chain saws. Easy on the ears and lungs!
21. Organic Tick, Mosquito and Grub Control – Ticks can be controlled on your
property with organic methods to protect your family and pets from lymes disease. Surprisingly, NY & CT require a license and registration to apply organic pesticides as well as the synthetic toxic ones! We are in the process of obtaining that. Folks use a special mix of cedar oil and other plant derivatives that kill ticks and repel them, and we are happy to share what we have learned. Great products exist also for organic grub control, called GrubGone and also for Mosquitos, with garlic oil as the main ingredient.
Other – We aspire to eductate and offer safe healthy methods for other lawn and land care, like grub control with natural methods and other projects like installing or removing plants, stone walls, etc. If you need something say something : ). We can recommend specialists for jobs beyond our scope (like gutters or tall tree work).
We have organic trained and experienced staff. Our methods, equipment, treatments and results improve every year, which has helped us sustain double and triple digit growth rates since 2007.
We’d be happy to tailor a program personalized to your property to help you estimate and control any services desired.
MowGreen is a social entrepreunership, we all win together. Visit MowGreen.com, email or call us for an easy switch allowing you personally to avoid tons of carbon pollution at your place.
>300 tons Carbon (& other) pollution avoided annually!
>6 MILLION auto-mile equiv. emissions cut since 2007
>1400 Acres Mowed Without Gas!
MowGreen.com, 203-548-REEL (7335)
While mowing the average lawn with gas emits over 4 Metric Tons of carbon emissions per year, or the emissions equivalent of an extra car driven for 10,000 miles, MowGreen cuts grass without gas. Over 300 Tons of carbon emissions are avoided annually – over 1300 acres mowed without gas, avoiding 6 MILLION auto-mile equivalent emissions since 2007. MowGreen® is a carbon neutral company, focused on sustainable lawncare services and technologies; Clean & Serene, No GasolineSM.
Values: Reduction, Ecology, Ethics, Life sustaining, & Respect, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Lasting value (REEL).
Mission: Get the Gas off the Grass, and, More Food Growing, Less Lawn Mowing.
Vision: National Network of locally managed and centrally supported eco-friendly gardening & lawncare.