TruGreen, the Memphis, Tenn.-based lawn care services provider, has issued a series of suggestions for environmentally responsible lawn care. The company calls them “Your Square Care” tips, referring to grounds managers’ “little square of the Earth.”

“Healthy lawns surrounding government buildings provide social benefits by creating an atmosphere with clean, organized areas where staff can enjoy congregating outdoors,” Kirk Hurto, the company’s vice president of technical services, explained to “Lawns that are managed to sustain healthy growth add to our environment, as they provide cooling affects, capture air pollutants, sequester carbon dioxide, and reduce soil erosion and run-off to streams and other natural water bodies.”

It pays for governments to maintain their grounds, added Hurto: “Allowing lawns to deteriorate reduces the above-mentioned benefits and can cost the government more if insects or an unmanaged drought causes damage to a lawn.”

To best maintain government grounds, the company recommends the following four practices:

1. Mow correctly: Cut grass frequently with a sharp-blade mower; keep the lawn high, only removing one-third of grass; and return clippings to the yard for added nourishment.

2. Water properly: Adjust watering schedule and level based on the season; apply less in the rainy season and more in the drier months as needed; water early in the day to reduce loss from wind and evaporation.

3. Plant health care: Understand a plant's nutritional needs; identify lawn problems to avoid diagnosing and treating the problem incorrectly.

4. Right plant, right place: Identify the right type of grass and plants for your region and your lawn to ensure greener, healthier turf and improved landscaping appeal; replacing un-adapted plants with the right plant enhances the value of your landscape.

In addition, Hurto advises government grounds managers to assess maintenance needs when developing a fertilizer and mowing program for lawns and trees on facility grounds. “Areas with high visibility and foot traffic will require more to maintain healthy lawns when compared to outlying areas with minimal foot traffic,” he says.

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