The organic way to mow your lawn begins by getting rid of tall grass and brush, especially at the edge of your lawn, to eliminate ticks’ favorite hangout spots. Also clean up leaf litter, and instead of tossing grass clippings and leaves into the garbage, add them to your compost pile and use the rich soil amendment in your garden. After they dry, grass clippings make great mulch that can help keep weeds from sprouting and help the soil retain water.
Ticks don’t like to cross paths lined with wood chips or gravel. Think of it like humans walking over glass—not pleasant. Place a gravel or wood chip buffer zone between lawns and wooded areas to help keep ticks from crossing onto your property.
Ticks can often be found crawling around sloppy woodpiles in shaded areas. If you keep the wood neatly stacked and in a spot that gets some sun, it’ll dry out faster. Remember, moist, wooded areas are inviting for ticks, while sunny, dry conditions are not.
While the chemical DEET is a good chemical tick repellent, it contains ingredients that can harm both you and the environment. If you must use chemical tick repellents, be sure to follow the instructions closely, but if you want to skip it, there are ways to learn how to stay bug free without dangerous DEET. For instance, since you can’t douse your yard with DEET—nor would you want to—you might try planting American beauty-berry bushes. They’re handsome plants and the leaves have been shown to repel ticks.
It’s not an option for everyone, but consider investing in a few chickens. Raising chickens not only provides you with fresh eggs, but they’ll also peck away at ticks on your property. If you go this route, make sure you research the proper food and shelter these birds need. Robins and some other ground-feeding backyard birds eat ticks, too, so a bird-friendly yard may help keep the tick population down. However, unfortunately, some birds actually carry ticks, so be sure to keep areas near bird feeders and birdbaths clear of brush and debris so any hitchhiking ticks are less likely to survive.