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Keep Your Yard Healthy

Keep Your Yard Healthy
Posted on 03/19/2020
Keep Your Yard HealthyProtect our water supply, avoid a code violation and keep Lenexa clean by following these healthy lawn tips!

Mowing

Grass in developed residential properties may not exceed 8 inches. Other properties must keep their grass under 12 inches. On large pieces of land (1 or more acres), the City may make exceptions and only require a perimeter mow.

Consider mowing higher and less often, as long as the grass height stays under 8 inches. Cutting your lawn higher (3–4 inches tall) encourages a stronger root system and reduces evaporation.

Trim around landscaping, mailboxes, and — most importantly — fire hydrants if you have one in your yard.

If you live next to a stream, avoid mowing within 10 to 25 feet from its edge and keep lawn clippings and leaf piles off the banks. Mowing too close to the edge damages roots that hold soil in place, causing stream banks to erode.

Consider mulch mowing. Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn will return up to 25% of the needed nitrogen.

Sweep grass clippings off your driveway and sidewalk. Not only does it look more appealing, it also prevents clogs in the storm drain system.

Keep your yard free of noxious weeds. Thistle is very common and needs to be sprayed to be eliminated; mowing doesn’t get rid of thistle.

Consider the amount of fertilizer you use

Harmful algae blooms — like blue-green algae — are unpredictable, difficult to remove and can make our lakes and ponds harmful for people and pets who enjoy them in the summer. Algae blooms typically occur in the hot, dry periods of late summer, but you can do your part to prevent them much earlier in the year.

The best way to prevent these blooms is to limit the amount of excess nutrients — the main cause of algae blooms — that enter streams and ponds. The most common source of nutrients in our water is one you’re probably using at home: fertilizer.

Get a soil test to find what nutrients your soil needs so you you pick the right fertilizer and avoid using too much. Johnson County households can get one free soil test per year through the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office. Learn more at Johnson.K-State.edu/lawn-garden.

Use phosphorous-free fertilizer. Phosphorous is a significant nutrient pollutant in our water.

Landscape with native plants. Their natural ability to thrive in our climate and soil reduces or eliminates the need for fertilizers, watering, pesticides, mowing and maintenance.

Keep fertilizer off pavement. Also, exercise caution when fertilizing on slopes and lawn edges to prevent chemicals from washing into storm drains.

Check the weather forecast before you apply fertilizer. Never use lawn chemicals before a heavy rainfall, and allow plenty of time for chemicals to dry.

Compost is a great alternative to chemical fertilizers. It also reduces strain on our landfills

Pick up after your pet. Pet waste carries bacteria that are harmful for pets, humans, and our streams.

Published March 19, 2019