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Attracting, Feeding and Appreciating Backyard Birds: Tips for a Bird Healthy Yard

By John Schaust

Photo courtesy of El Hutcherson

More and more people are becoming concerned about the use of chemicals on their lawns and how these products adversely affect birds and other wildlife. Here are some easy-to-follow tips that can help you have a healthier lawn without the use of excessive chemicals that may be harmful to the environment.

  • Seek out grass seed varieties that are drought-, disease- and insect-resistant.
  • Perform yearly core aeration, to improve air and moisture content in the turf and prevent excessive thatch, which causes lawn disease.
  • Landscape portions of lawns for wildlife with bushes, trees or hummingbird and butterfly gardens, in lieu of grass. (This will also cut down on your mowing and lawn maintenance requirements.)
  • Use organic lawn care services or practices (e.g. corn luten, which can serve as pre-emergent weed control both in the spring and late summer).
  • Spot-spray unwanted dandelions with vinegar (but be careful, as this will also kill grass).
  • Use organic pesticide solutions, such as soapy water or beneficial insects that prey on pests.
  • If pesticide application is absolutely necessary, follow instructions carefully or have a professional apply it only on problem areas (avoid blanket spreading). When doing so, be sure to cover feeders and bird baths, as well as any areas frequented by young children (e.g. kiddie pools, sandboxes, etc.).
  • The idea of a flawless lawn may be a thing of the past. A few weeds or insects are a small price to pay for better health and environmental sustainability.


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