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Get a 'green' thumb: Grow an eco-friendly lawn

TODAY home contributor Lou Manfredini shares some tricks for creating a lawn that's both beautiful and easy on the environment.
/ Source: TODAY

Have you noticed how there's a lot of discussion about being “green” these days? Whether it's about hybrid cars, alternative fuels or reusable shopping bags, these trends have a great benefit to all of us. Now, that same focus is coming full swing into the lawn and garden world. Some ideas are new and some have been around for over a 100 years. 

How are you cutting your lawn?
If you use a gas-powered lawn mower for an hour it can create the same pollution as an older car does on a 100-mile trip. Yikes! While gas units have become more efficient and are needed for larger lawns, there are alternatives to these gas-powered units. Push reel mowers have been around for over 100 years. The American Lawn Mower company has been building them since 1895. Reel mowers are ready when you need them and about all the fuel you’ll need is a banana and a glass of milk. Some argue that a reel mower does a better job cutting the grass as it clips at the blades of grass rather than tearing them as a rotary blade can. They cost around $170 and come in different cutting widths. Think of the money you'll save on a gym membership! (

If you just aren’t up for all that pushing and need some help then the Bully™ line of mowers is for you. ( They have an electric corded unit called the LAWNPUP™ that can run up to 100 feet with the right extension cord from an outlet on your home. It sells for around $200. The cordless unit can run for up to 40 minutes on a single charge and go anywhere, with an extra battery you can cut for almost two hours. The cordless unit sells for about $230.

Cordless trimming tools are also available from many makers and can help do many jobs. Toro has a new cordless weed whacker that is lightweight and easy to use and can trim the average size yard on one charge. ($40 at Black and Decker has been in the cordless business for years and now has a cordless chainsaw and cordless garden cultivator. They both use 18 volt batteries and rival larger gas-powered units. Again no emissions means a better environment for all of us. They both sell for around $99. (

Just like the push reel mower you can give your yard the one-two punch with some elbow grease. The Garden Weasel® and Garden Claw® have been around for 30 years and do a bang up job of keeping your soil loose to promote healthy growth. (

How are you feeding your lawn?
After cutting and edging the grass you need to feed it to keep it looking healthy and green.  While the major brands of fertilizers do a terrific job on your lawn, they are full of chemicals that can be harmful and many states now have restrictions on these chemical-based products. Milorganite is a natural product that has been successfully used for over 80 years both professionally and residentially. It is a by-product of the Milwaukee County sewage plant.  And boy does it green up your lawn and garden. The slow release nitrogen and iron digs deep into the roots to promote healthy growth. Your lawn and flowers will have a little odor for a day or so and if you have a dog they may want to roll around in it. But it works great and is all natural. (

Compost is a natural way to fertilize your vegetable or flower garden. You can send less into our landfills and more back into the earth with the use of the Tumbleweed Composting bin. This unit makes it easy to keep the compost well aerated. You can use kitchen scraps, leaves or whatever can be loaded and turned to speed up the process and help you feed your garden naturally. It sells for about $200. (

If you have more questions you can reach me at .