Get Ready for Spring Lawn Care—and Enter to Win an Electric Lawn Mower!
With plenty of snow still on the ground, Lake Champlain Sea Grant staff shared the excitement of upcoming blue skies and green grass at the Vermont Flower Show on March 3–5.
We were happy to discuss lawn care with attendees because green spaces like lawns are essential in soaking up and slowing down stormwater as it heads towards our waterways. Stormwater runoff is a common source of pollutants in surface waters in the Lake Champlain watershed. The Raise the Blade lawn care guidance makes sure lawns help to keep our water clean and not contribute to nutrient pollution.
Raise the blade recommends these three simple practices:
- Cut your lawn no lower than 3 inches by raising the blade on your mower.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn.
- Cut no more than 1/3 of the grass blade height at any one mowing.
These practices do more than contribute to clean water. They contribute to healthy soils. Longer grass has deeper roots, which can unlock water and soil nutrients that are too deep for short roots to utilize. This keeps your lawn greener and healthier in the dry summer months when short-cut lawns may brown or wilt in the heat.
Grass clippings on your lawn act as a natural fertilizer. As they decompose, they form organic matter which feeds the soil and roots. This means you don’t have to buy fertilizer, and you can enjoy the warm weather without worrying about raking up clippings.
Cutting only a third of the grass blade height causes less stress to the grass roots, keeping them healthy. Plus, the shorter clippings decompose faster.
If you do use fertilizer, it’s a good idea to get a soil test to make sure you only add the nutrients that your grass needs. Phosphorus is rarely needed for lawns in the Lake Champlain watershed, so try to get phosphorus-free fertilizers unless your soil test says otherwise. You can tell a fertilizer is phosphorus free if the middle number on the bag is a 0.
This summer, we are teaming up with the Lake Champlain Basin Program and the Lake Champlain Committee to raffle off another electric lawn mower! Enter to win and send pictures to us of you “raising the blade” at seagrant [at] uvm.edu. The winner will be announced on October 18, 2023.
Learn more about how you can Raise the Blade and make sure your lawn supports clean water in the Lake Champlain watershed.