Grass dye has been used to color grass and fix visual imperfections of a lawn since the 1950s when it was used to dye grass for Hollywood movie sets and golf courses. The practice of dyeing grass has become more common as it becomes a cheaper alternative to spending money over-seeding, fertilizing, watering and replacing lawn patches. You can create your own lawn dye by mixing several different plant nutrients and food coloring.
Reasons for Homemade Grass Dye
If you're living in a neighborhood with a powerful Home Owner's Association (HOA), you may have been threatened with fines for a yard with dead patches. Even if you try reseeding the patch and watering more, it will still take time for new grass to grow and you may be fined by the day until grass is green. Grass dye is a cheap quick fix to keep the HOA satisfied and save money and time. Homemade grass dye can be even cheaper than a store-bought bottle and you can find most ingredients for it around the house. Another reason grass dye has become necessary for some homeowners is drought-related watering restrictions. Some types of grass cannot get the amount of water they need because of watering restrictions.
Benefits of Homemade Grass Dye
Homemade grass dye can save a chunk of money spent on grass seed, overwatering of new seeds, fertilizing of new seeds, pesticides and even the high cost of having a service paint your grass. Rather than constantly trying to replace grass that died from drought or cold weather, dye grass green yourself by pouring dye into a sprayer attachment and attaching it to your garden hose until the season permits natural regrowth. One application of lawn dye can last for months and food coloring will not harm plants. The paint is nontoxic so it is not harmful to people or animals either, and it coats the grass, helping to protect it from both hot and cold temperatures.
Ingredients Used for Homemade Grass Dye
Homemade grass dye is inexpensive to make. You can mix one pound of liquid fertilizer together with four pounds of Epsom salt and 1/4 cup of green food coloring. This should cover a small to medium yard, depending on how heavily you coat the grass. The fertilizer and Epsom salt can help add nutrients to the grass so that it turns green naturally. Epsom salt replenishes magnesium and iron in plants, which increases the production of chlorophyll in plants that lack these elements. If you know your soil is well balanced in nutrients, Epsom salt may not be necessary. You can replace Epsom salt with water because the green food coloring is what will be essentially dyeing the grass. Green food coloring is nontoxic and can tint the outer layer of plants green. When the grass absorbs the food coloring it will become the color of the food coloring without harming the plant.
Controversy and Grass Dye
Some people argue that dyeing grass is giving in to unnatural expectations rather than tending to a lawn naturally. If they are unaware of the nontoxic ingredients used in homemade grass dye, they may disapprove of your methods because they are thinking of chemicals soaking into the ground. Others tend to trust a professional lawn service more than homemade treatments. And, to some homeowners, making your own grass dye and dyeing grass with food coloring is the easy way out -- or may even be considered lazy. So some folks just don't tell how they keep their grass green.
- Tipnut; Want Greener Grass? Try Epsom Salts; 2009
- Grass B Green; Are Brown Spots or Faded Color Ruining Your Lawn?; 2007
- Master Gardener; Miracle, Myth or Marketing: Epsom Salts; 2007
- Ready Made; Turf Wars: The Battle Over the American Lawn; Evan Ratliff; September 2002
- Green Grass Painters; Facts; June 2010
- Grist; The Lawn Goodbye: A Desperate Nation Paints Its Yards Green; Sarah Goodyear; April 2011
- Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
- NC State Turf Research; Lawn Painting Versus Overseeding; Grady Miller; March 2010
- Reader's Digest; Home and Garden Uses for Epsom Salt; 2011
- University of Florida; Conserving Gasoline in Your Yard; Ken Rudisil; July 2008
- St. Petersburg Times; Homeowners Caught in Turf War over Lawn Care; Andrew Meacham; March 2008
- WCNC; HOA's Fine Members over Lawns, Landscaping; Stuart Watson; July 2011
- New York Times; Spraying to Make Yards Green ... but With Paint, Not Water; Marc Lacey; April 2011
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