UWM Goes to Chemical Free Lawns
The key to reducing weeds without herbicide is healthy soil.
Healthy soil=healthy, thick grass=less weeds.
In 2014, UWM’s Physical Environment Committee approved the change over to natural lawn care and the elimination of chemical application on campus lawns. Now, all 23 acres on the Kenwood campus are regularly aerated, overseed, and topped with compost.
Testing the Water Absorbing Potential of Natural Lawn Care
UW-Milwaukee is investigating the benefits of natural lawn care further. With support from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Earthcare, a Milwaukee landscape consultant, is testing a best practice approach to natural lawn care as a means of stormwater management.
There are 40 million acres of turf across the U.S and, as one of our nation’s largest “crops”, turfgrass is associated with the same issues as conventional agriculture. These issues range from excessive fertilization that pollutes our waterways to the high irrigation requirements that typically account for half of the demand on municipal water supplies.
The majority of our country’s turf is represented by large landscapes including athletic fields, golf courses, parks and playgrounds and they are typically compacted with short root systems. Large turf fields are usually just another source of hard surface polluted runoff contributing to neighborhood flooding and water quality issues.
Earthcare’s Sustainable Turf is a paradigm shift converting turf from an environmental detriment to an environmental asset by focusing on building healthy soil. The methodology is chemical-free and based on vigilant soil diagnostics and customized turf protocols. Sustainable Turf Management provides improved stormwater infiltration through root development that is two to three times deeper than traditionally managed turf. This deep root penetration allows Sustainable Turf to be a better “sponge”, holding stormwater where it falls, to reduce stormwater overflows and improve water quality.
The test is being conducted at UWM, along Downer Avenue, over the next few years.