The problem with turf grass is that it is non-native to our region, has shallow roots, requires frequent watering during dry spells, has difficulty competing with broad-leaf weeds, and is often treated with chemicals harmful to our environment. The benefit of a lawn is that it can be walked on. If that space is not needed for your dog, paths, or play, consider alternative landscaping. Reduce the size of your lawn and grow more beneficial plants. However, if you have a lawn, please care for it in an environmentally-friendly way.
A healthy lawn depends upon the soil. Amending the soil to increase the fungi, bacteria, microscopic life, and moisture retention capabilities is the best move. Compost, not synthetic chemicals, do this.
All grasses that grow in Michigan are “cool season” which means they will go dormant in summer without a lot of moisture. Expect to see some browning unless you make up for an inch of water a week in our 6-8 weeks of normal summer dry spell. The browning does not mean the lawn is dead. In cooler wetter weather, it will green-up.
To care for your lawn in an ecologically-safe manner, follow these Four Steps:
Pennsylvania sedge is a nice lawn alternative. It looks like lawn, may be mowed a couple times in season, if you must, but cannot take the foot traffic of turf grass. It can be installed as an extension of green space. It is especially nice in a semi-shade area where turf grass does not want to grow.
If the soil grows moss… welcome it as a lawn alternative! There is no problem with a moss lawn.
Note: Never add a pesticide to your lawn. They are harmful to beneficial insects, pets and people.