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Environment

Rewilding UK Gardens, one at a time . . .

The UKLCA understand that in providing our popular service, what we do may have an impact on the natural environment, albeit small.   We remain committed to doing our best to make positive changes to protect your lawn and home environment, whilst matching these words with a proactive approach to promoting a sustainable environment.

Our members are independent lawncare operators. Together we are working closely with them to offer guidance and promote a sustainable environment. Homeowners following this advice and practice will get great results both for their garden and the natural wildlife that depends on it.

We can all take steps to improve conditions for wildlife, for example on a smaller lawn you could replace the weeds that spoil the lawn, such as daisies and buttercups, with wildflower containers with similar type plants to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. You could review your planting choices in flower borders to add suitable plants.  If you have a larger garden, you could consider a more managed wildflower area, grown either from seed or wildflower turf.

However, it’s not just about butterflies and bees, native shrubs and trees offer a great food and protection choice for other wildlife, providing caterpillar food plants for a variety of moths, plus berries and seeds for birds and small mammals.

The UK climate means that we are fortunate to have an extensive range of plants and shrubs available for your garden beds and borders, these will provide both all year-round garden interest for you and a great source of food for insects and wildlife.  Careful planting will easily replace the food source lost from the weeds in your lawn and give a greater diversity of food choice for a wider spectrum of wildlife compared to those daisy and dandelions in the lawn.

Wildlife decline is a particular concern in view of the dramatic global decrease in insect species. The UK has its own targets for protecting its natural spaces, we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows in a single generation. Careful and considerate re wilding in our gardens will have a positive environmental impact.

Artificial grass and hard surfaces

Whilst its looks are getting better, and you may be attracted by the claims of lower maintenance, think about the environmental impact of artificial grass and hard surfaces.

Contributing to the natural environment can take many forms, however, trends for artificial grass and block paved areas are not always that positive environmentally.

Paul Hetherington, fundraising director for the charity Buglife, (www.buglife.org.uk) says artificial turf is far from an eco-friendly alternative to natural grass.

“It blocks access to the soil beneath for burrowing insects, such as solitary bees, and the ground above for soil dwellers such as worms, which will be starved of food beneath it,” he says. “It provides food for absolutely no living creatures.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/02/turf-it-out-is-it-time-to-say-goodbye-to-artificial-grass

Why we like real grass...

There are many benefits to a healthy lawn. It provides a habitat for wildlife, complements other plants and trees in your garden and in creating a natural green space for you to enjoy has been proven to help mental health, reduces stress and improve mood.

A healthy lawn cools the environment, converts carbon dioxide into oxygen, improves our air quality, and stabilizes the ground beneath our feet.

Did you know?

  • 60m2 of lawn provides enough oxygen for one person for an entire day
  • A healthy lawn prevents run-off, absorbing rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field
  • One single grass plant can have 387 miles of roots
  • Up to 90 percent of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.

FAQ's

Below are some of the common questions our members are asked

Products available in the professional sector are rigorously tested for safety and performance for humans, pets and the environment. Our members will offer best practice alternatives, where appropriate and applicable, such as reducing product usage, mechanical treatments and soil improvers to reduce the environmental impact.

Granular fertilisers used by members are not considered hazardous products. While no herbicide material may be legally classified as completely ‘safe’, our weed control can be termed ‘practically non-toxic’. These products are all certified for use on lawns, used by our NPTC qualified staff in strict compliance with labelled instructions. They do not represent any significant threat to wildlife.

There are many benefits to a healthy lawn, beyond being a source of pride and enjoyment for your family. A healthy lawn cools the environment, converts carbon dioxide into oxygen, improves our air quality, and stabilizes the ground beneath our feet.

Did you know?

  • 60m2 of lawn provides enough oxygen for one person for an entire day
  • A healthy lawn prevents run-off, absorbing rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field
  • One single grass plant can have 387 miles of roots
  • Up to 90 percent of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.

An established lawn does not need to be watered routinely. In fact, letting a lawn search for its own supply of water will encourage roots to go deeper and seek out moisture. This will benefit the lawn’s health in the long term.

It’s a personal choice and doesn’t cost as much as you think, but we suggest you consider watering advice

If you have not started

Don’t start watering, if your happy to let the lawn go into natural dormancy. This is what it does naturally.

If you have started ….

It is better to apply two good waterings per week to the lawn rather than frequent light watering. Your lawn will require moistening to a depth of 6″ weekly, for a loam or clay soil this will be achieved by approximately by 1-1½” of water. A sandy soil will be moistened to a depth of approximately 6″ by ½ -¼” of water, so what does that mean? approx 20-30 minutes.

Plantlife’s No Mow May asks you to not do anything at all… Just lock up your lawnmower on May 1st and let the wild flowers in your lawn bloom, providing a feast of nectar for our hungry pollinators.

This would be true for a lawn that already contains weeds and for best results should only be cut twice a year in autumn and early spring. but if your lawn is treated with either DIY products from the garden, or a responsible service provider, such as a UKLCA member you may be doing more harm than good to your manicured lawn and adding no benefits to the insect life.  Why limit increasing the source of food and wildlife environment all year by ensuring your garden is suitable year round and plant wild flower and long grass containers.

This is a personal choice and can be argued many ways, for our members as passionate lawn lovers we see that there are many benefits to a healthy lawn, beyond being a source of pride and enjoyment for your family. A healthy lawn cools the environment, converts carbon dioxide into oxygen, improves our air quality, absorbs water reducing run off and stabilizes the ground beneath our feet.

It is not just wildlife that artificial turf affects. The Committee on Climate Change recommends rewilding a huge area of UK land and growing many more trees to help tackle global heating by storing carbon. Not only does fake grass have no climate benefits, but producing the plastic emits carbon and uses fossil fuels.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/02/turf-it-out-is-it-time-to-say-goodbye-to-artificial-grass

There are six elements for a wildlife friendly garden, these being pond, log pile, an area of long grass, bee and insect friendly flowers, trees and shrubs and a compost heap. Of course it is not always possible, feasible or indeed practical to provide them all but if you can provide one or two, every little helps.

Our members are experts in lawns, but not all are horticulturalists, this is a specialist subject in itself, but we have pulled together a quick guide and information download.

Your local garden centre should be able to provide more expert advice likewise the internet.  We particularly like this site

Kew Gardens: Why wildflowers matter

Are you thinking of a garden makeover?

Now is a great time to think about some alternative planting choices?

Native trees offer the best choice for wildlife, providing food sources for a variety of moths, plus berries and seeds for birds and small mammals. But both native and non-native flowers appeal to bees and other pollinators, we recommend you choose plants that have single flowers, many double flowers are inaccessible to insects, or have small amounts of nectar and pollen.

Shrubs and perennials in your garden borders can attract all kinds of wildlife. Nectar-rich plants are invaluable for bees and butterflies, some plants will provide food for birds, that’s right you could grow your own bird food!

Climbers not only look beautiful they are incredibly useful for wildlife. Birds can nest in them, butterflies can hibernate in them and bees can take shelter from the rain.

Herbs, not just great for your kitchen garden, they also attract and provide food for all kinds of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, hoverflies and birds.

No plans for a garden makeover, what else can I do?

This a great opportunity to refresh patios and borders with Wild Flower Container Gardening

Any container that will hold soil will be fine for wildflowers. Make sure that the container is clean and dry before you begin. If there are no drainage holes in the bottom of the container, make several holes to allow the water to drain.

Consider hanging baskets and patio containers wild life friendly hanging baskets and containers for long un cut grass

More information https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/how-grow-wildflowers/sowing/how-sow-containers

 

Best plants for Bees

Choose single, open flowers where you can see the central part of the flower. This is important to allows the bees to access the nectar and pollen.

Bees will favour

  • Single flowers
  • Purple flowers
  • Tubular shapes

Spring

  • Bluebell
  • Bugle
  • Crab apple
  • Crocus
  •  Flowering cherry and currant
  • Forget-me-not
  •  Hawthorn
  •  Primrose
  • Pulmonaria
  • Rhododendron
  • Rosemary

Early Summer

  • Campanula
  • Comfrey
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Hardy geranium
  • Honesty
  • Hollyhock
  • Potentilla
  • Snapdragon
  • Stachys
  • Teasel
  • Thyme
  • Verbascum

Late Summer

  •     Aster
  •     Buddleja
  •     Cardoon
  •     Cornflower
  •     Dahlia (single-flowered)
  •     Eryngium
  •     Globe thistle
  •     Heather
  •     Ivy
  •     Lavender
  •     Penstemon
  •     Scabious
  •     Sedum
  •     Verbena bonariensis

Best flowers for Butterflies

  • Buddleja
  • Sedum
  • Hebe
  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Echinops
  • Echinacea
  • Aster
  • Lavender
  • Cornflowers
  • Fennel

Useful Websites

About the UKLCA

At the UKLCA, our committee and members are aware and committed to the promotion of education to get the best from lawn naturally. 

Our advice is aimed to help you get the best results for the natural wildlife that depends on it in your garden.

Many of our members also offer natural lawn care programmes, why not ask your local indepenent lawncare specialist for details.

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