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Hi Linda, I always enjoy your column. I have a question for you: We have ants in our lawn. The past few years they have progressively gotten worse despite our efforts to curtail them. We have two small children who play on the lawn daily so we have been hesitant to use any harsh chemicals, but the "green" solutions that we've tried don't seem to make any difference. Any suggestions? Thanks, Mark


Advantages and Prevention of Ants Hi Mark, I do not advocate killing the ants. The ants found in your lawn will not hurt the children. If we were down south and you had Fire Ants that would be another story. The ants are very useful in aerating the soil under the lawn which is important for healthy lawn roots. They also kill and eat the grubs that are in the soil which is also good for your lawn. Ants are drawn to dry (almost powdery), well-draining soil to live and build their nests. To help deter ants from building their nests in your lawn make sure when you mow that you leave the grass clippings on the lawn - do not bag them. The clippings provide nitrogen to feed the existing lawn and help create organic matter in the soil. Do not cut your lawn any shorter than 3 1/2 - 4". If you cut the lawn shorter, the lawn will eventually die which will create open spaces in the lawn that the ants find attractive to build their nests. In the fall, chop up some of the fallen leaves with your mower and leave them on the lawn. This contributes organic matter to the soil as they decompose over the winter. Also in the fall, aerate the lawn and add approximately 1/4-1/2" of compost on lawn surface to get organic matter deeper into soil. Why organic matter? Organic matter holds moisture and creates a lumpy, crumbly soil that ants do not like. They will eventually move their nests someplace else that suits them. Slice-seeding in the fall also helps to thicken the lawn. Bottom line - a thick, healthy lawn is your best deterrent to ants living in your lawn.

We have an outstanding organic lawn care program that creates a wonderful lawn that is 100% safe for children, pets and the environment without using chemicals. It includes aeration and slice seeding in the fall.

Take a look at our website all the lawn information is explained there and give us a call if you are interested. Thank you for your question.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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