Homeowners in unincorporated Johnson County and its smaller communities who would like to have greener and healthier lawns without the use of chemicals, can apply to have 50% of the costs for soil quality restoration reimbursed (up to $2,000) through the Johnson County Soil Health Program, which was launched last year. Homeowners who wish to participate must be pre-approved by the program coordinators and use a contractor from a pre-approved list.
The program goal is to restore soil quality on new or existing lawns. The restoration process involves deep-tine aeration, which removes small plugs of earth from the lawn to reduce soil compaction, and application of clean compost to add organic matter to the soil. Good quality soil absorbs more water and provides a lawn with the nutrients it needs to be healthy. The result is reduced need for watering, fertilizers and pesticides, with less runoff and pollutants going into local streams.
Residents of unincorporated Johnson County as well as those who live in Hills, Lone Tree, Oxford, Shueyville, Solon, Swisher, Tiffin, University Heights and the parts of West Branch located within Johnson County are eligible to apply for the program.
Interested homeowners can learn more and apply for the program by visiting https://johnsoncountyiowa.gov/soilhealth. Approval for program participation will be on a first-come, first-served basis. An informational video is also available at https://tinyurl.com/SHPjc.
Sixteen homeowners participated in the program in its first year (July 2022 through June 2023), with services provided by seven different area landscaping companies.
For more information, contact Kasey Hutchinson, soil and water conservation coordinator, or Becky Soglin, sustainability coordinator, in the Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability Department at [email protected] or 319-356-6083.