Smaller American Lawns Today

Smaller American Lawns Today, SALT, is a movement introduced in June of 1997 by Dr. William A. Niering, professor of botany at Connecticut College. The SALT mission is to decrease the size of lawns in America by restoring home grounds to more harmonious, productive, ecologically sound and naturalistic landscapes. SALT offers an alternative vision of the monocultured lawn. As Dr. Niering wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with dandelions, there’s something wrong with people.”

Natural beauty can abound in one's own yard. In our annual SALT Conference, participants learn how to cut back on the size of their lawns and also to have beautiful, sustainable, and friendly home grounds as well. Once established, you will never want to go back to a boring, monocultural lawn!

SALT 2017 Soil  
2017 SALT Conference:
A Down to Earth Look at Soils 

Saturday, November 11, 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m.

Cummings Arts Center, Oliva Hall (note location change), Connecticut College

$65 by Nov. 1/$80 after; Members* $55 by Nov. 1/$70 after (*Arboretum, CT Master Gardener, Wild Ones)

Registration includes continental breakfast, lunch and two breaks.

Register online (please write "SALT and number of people registering" in "Item(s) purchased" and fill in amount due based on how many members/non-members you are registering) 

Have you ever wondered what is happening below ground and how that affects the plants that grow above ground in your garden?

Healthy soil is an important component of a fertile landscape. Composed of mineral solids, organic matter, water and air, soil anchors and support plants. Alive with bacteria, fungi, nematodes and larger organisms, soil plays an important role in supporting a healthy environment. Get to know your soil. Test your soil. Take the necessary steps to improve and maintain healthy soil to provide a good foundation for vigorous plant growth.

This year's SALT Conference will focus on what's happening below ground in our gardens. Presenters will share practical information on understanding site analysis, structural aspects for soil, sequestering carbon and building healthy soils.


Soil Sustainability (45 minutes)
Making Sense of Soil Tests (45 minutes)
Dawn Pettinelli, Extension Instructor in the Department of Plant Science at UConn

Soil Ecology and Health – Making Links (1 hour)
Ray Covino, District Conservationist, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Building Soil Carbon for Healthier Gardens (2 hours)
Jack Kittredge, Soil Carbon Program Coordinator & Editor of The Natural Farmer MA chapter of NOFA and
Julie Rawson, Executive Director of the MA chapter of NOFA

Download the SALT 2017 Program Brochure with mail in registration form. 

Get your soil tested now through UConn Soil Testing and bring your results to the conference to better understand the recommendations (optional). 
Here are the documents you will need: Homegrounds/Lawns and Landscapes Submission Form and Sampling Instructions for Homegrounds/Lawns/Landscapes


Past SALT Seminars:

2016 - Salt 2016 - Deconstructing the American Landscape

2015 - Kill Your Lawn 

2013 - The Joy of Creating a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden‌. Homeowners often think in terms of planting an ornamental garden and a vegetable garden as two separate endeavors. It is possible, however, to have a garden that is both beautiful and bountiful. 

2012 - Gardening in a Changing Environment‌. Experts shared what they are doing now to maintain the sustainability of their land and what they have done when disaster has struck. ‌

2011 - The ABCs of Creating Your Own "Garden of Eden" provided an opportunity for homeowners to learn tips from topnotch speakers in the field of naturalistic landscaping. 

2010 - Designing Your Home Grounds for Beauty and Sustainability. A seminar on naturalistic landscaping. Download the brochure.‌‌2009 - Going Native in New England with featured speaker Douglas W. Tallamy was most informative on the subject of using native plants to promote backyard biodiversity. 

‌2009 - Going Native in New England with featured speaker Douglas W. Tallamy was most informative on the subject of using native plants to promote backyard biodiversity.

2008 - SALT meets Wild Ones!‌‌ This article by Kathy T. Dame appeared in the Wild Ones Journal, September/October, 2008.