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Organic Lawn Care Tips

Posted on December 28th, 2022

Organic Lawn Care Tips. Many homeowners are switching to organic lawn care, and they’re not doing it mindlessly. There are rising worries about how dangerous non-organic chemicals are for our families and lawns, with roughly 100 million pounds of pesticides used annually.

However, with the transition comes a fusion of benefits and drawbacks. For instance, one thing that initially turns many away from cultivating an organic lawn is weeds, so they miss out on how beautiful and beneficial natural lawns can be with time. So in this complete guide, we look at natural lawn care, manage your expectations and help you make the switch.

WHAT IS ORGANIC LAWN CARE?

Organic lawn care is the cultivation of your yard and all of its components without using any synthetic chemicals. The fundamental idea underpinning natural lawn care is that healthy, chemical-free soil beget lawns that can eventually look after themselves.

While the environmental benefits are substantial, an organic lawn may require more work than a conventionally kept yard. For instance, while your neighbor can easily apply chemical weed killer, you might have to pluck your weeds by hand to keep the lawn tidy.

Another example would be managing grubs in your lawn; you would have to introduce natural treatments such as birds and milky spores to eliminate the grubs. As such, this does not mean that natural lawn care entails weeds and grubs.

According to experts, the soil’s natural ability to freshen up the turf and fight off weeds and grubs has ceased following years of being bombarded with chemicals to do these things. But don’t fret; you can restart your turf’s innate immune system with natural lawn maintenance methods, making it less vulnerable to diseases and pests.

THE PROS OF NATURAL LAWN CARE

The absence of chemicals is, by far, the greatest advantage of cultivating an organic lawn. So let’s look further into the benefits of an organic lawn:

  • Safer for children and pets: Your lawn will be a safer area for your children and pets to play and roam without the frequent application of chemicals. Many synthetic chemicals continue to release poisons and fumes for more than a year.
  • Long-term sustainability: Maintaining your lawn organically can initially take more time. However, if you combine native plants and grasslands with regular weeding and chemical-free maintenance, your lawn will eventually flourish, requiring less attention.
  • Harmful chemicals won’t seep into your water supply: Going chemical-free is especially advantageous if you have a well because chemicals won’t leach into the water supply. 

THE CONS OF NATURAL LAWN CARE

As mentioned earlier, if you choose to transition to organic lawn care, there will undoubtedly be some downsides, particularly when managing all those weeds. So when weighing your options, consider the following disadvantages of organic lawn maintenance:

  • There will be an adjustment period: If you’ve used synthetics to nurture your lawn for a while, your lawn would be accustomed to this and may first seem unappealing without them. Before your lawn begins to flourish naturally, expect an adjustment period.
  • Controlling weeds can be more challenging and time-consuming: Synthetics are proven effective in keeping weeds at bay. So naturally, you’ll notice weeds popping up here and there once you stop using such chemicals.
  • There will be a trial and error phase: Once you transition to organic methods of lawn care, you’ll have to experiment to see which natural techniques are most effective for your specific lawn.

All in all, the benefits of organic lawn care outweigh its drawbacks with proper implementation.

HOW TO GENTLY SWITCH TO ORGANIC LAWN CARE

Transitioning to an organic lawn doesn’t have to be complex. A little research and reading would tell you that natural lawn care essentially means going back to basics.

Below are some steps to lead your organic lawn care journey:

1. Perform a soil test.

By doing this, you’ll be aware of what exactly you’re dealing with. A soil test will reveal your soil’s pH and the nutrients that are either lacking or insufficient. As a result, you can choose the appropriate organic fertilizer for your lawn. For instance, adding gypsum can improve soil with low calcium levels, while lime can address a weak pH level.

2. Mow and de-weed your lawn.

Mow your entire lawn and make sure the surface is level and even. If not, you may have to bring in additional topsoil to level the field. Use a mulching reel mower or attachment to leave the grass cuttings where they fall since they serve as a natural nitrogen source as they decompose.

But before mowing, learn the ideal height for your growing lawn. Otherwise, it won’t have time to grow the robust, hearty roots required to resist weeds and disease if you cut it too short. 

  • 3 to 4 inches high for cool-season grasses like red fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
  • 1 to 1 ½ inch high for warm-season grasses like Bermuda.

For de-weeding, spreading corn gluten flour, an organic weed preventative, on your lawn in the spring is one way to keep weeds away. But avoid this method while overseeding because it will prevent seeds from germinating, even grass. Despite only doing 65 percent as effectively as conventional herbicides, corn gluten meal can still dramatically lessen weed infestations.

If you notice a few lone weeds, skip the spraying and pluck them out by hand. We’ll talk more about natural weed control later on.

3. Add compost to your lawn.

Compost is the foundation of an organic lawn. Opt for compost that consists of decomposed organic plant matter, similar to what you might find on the forest floor. You can either get it from nurseries or gather your own in a backyard bin.

But whether you make it yourself or buy from a local lawn and garden store, adding it to your lawn promotes the robust growth of grass and plants. If you have a large yard, building your own compost might be more sustainable, so you have easy access to this nutrient-rich supplement to feed your lawn. 

4. Apply organic fertilizer for lawns.

Choose organic fertilizer for lawns that contain bone meal, seaweed, and manure rather than the accustomed chemical-filled fertilizers. You can also use common home materials like grass cuttings, coffee grounds, banana peels, or composted chicken manure as an alternative to purchasing organic fertilizers from your local store. This way, you save money and reduce waste.

5. Overseed your lawn.

It’s now time to introduce grass seed to your lawn. Overseeding is key for a thick layer of grass that prevents weeds from growing on your lawn. The secret to selecting the best grass seed for your organic lawn care program is to go with a local variety. By overseeding your lawn with native or organic grass seed or by replacing it entirely, you can make it even more sustainable. 

Such grass seeds will grow more effectively, requiring less upkeep. In addition, these seeds are better disease-resistant than non-natives like Kentucky bluegrass (Europe) and St. Augustine (Africa) grass since they are accustomed to the local soil conditions and amount of rainfall. Buffalograss is a well-known native prairie grass.

HOW TO MANAGE WEEDS WITH NATURAL LAWN CARE

Again, dealing with weeds is one of the challenges of switching to organic lawn care, especially initially. However, this is no reason to do away with natural lawns. Instead, you can be confident that with time, your organic lawn will become established enough to actively combat weeds and prevent them from taking over.

But meanwhile, without using dangerous pesticides, here are some natural ways to get rid of weeds:

Spread corn gluten meal.

For easier reviewing, we added this method in this section, although we have mentioned this above already. The by-product of wet milling corn is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal has long been employed as livestock feed, but has since been found to also work effectively as a weed killer. To keep weeds at bay, spread a generous amount around your entire lawn. Be reminded to avoid using corn gluten meal when sowing your lawn because it can damage grass that is just beginning to germinate.

Spray vinegar.

Applying undiluted white vinegar to weeds can be a very efficient organic weed management strategy. Just spray it directly on the unwanted weeds, ideally on a day when plenty of sunshine is anticipated. Peskier weeds such as dandelions require multiple treatments, so you can spray vinegar as frequently as you’d like.

Add dish soap.

Concoct a mixture of vinegar and dish detergent to bolster weed-killing properties, then apply it directly to weeds. The ratio should be a gallon of vinegar and just a spoonful of dish soap. On top of its weed-killing effect, this mixture is also fantastic for natural pest control.

Pull the weeds by hand.

Weeds can, as mentioned, always be pulled out by hand. Although it may appear frustrating, this method is most effective on small weed patches or big weeds like thistles or johnson grass. After eliminating weeds, it’s crucial to quickly plant grass seeds since disturbed soil might awaken latent weed seeds, worsening your weed problem.

Sparingly let the weeds be.

Finally, consider letting the weeds naturally coexist with your organic grass. But you don’t want to hand them complete control. For any lawn, natural or not, regular maintenance is a necessity. Additionally, not all weeds seek to ruin your lawn. 

For instance, clover, a widespread broadleaf weed, converts atmospheric nitrogen into a form your soil can assimilate, acting as an organic fertilizer factory for your lawn. Organic lawn care experts suggest adding a pound of clover seed to every 1,000 square feet of lawn.

ORGANIC LAWN CARE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

While switching to natural lawn care is an exciting journey, having many questions is a part of it. Here is more information to help you take care of your lawn naturally:

Is natural lawn care better than conventional?

It is better in terms of its environmental benefits. But beyond being environment-friendly, organic compounds and fertilizers enhance the soil’s texture, enabling it to properly retain water while enhancing beneficial fungi and microbial activity in your lawns. On the other hand, some synthetic fertilizers tend to rob the soil of its nutrition, rendering it unproductive.

When should I apply organic lawn fertilizer?

The beginning of spring, usually in late March or early April, is the best time to feed your lawn with organic fertilizer. This is when your lawn grass begins to green up after the winter. Then, fertilize again in the early autumn, typically in September or October but at least 6 to 8 weeks before the first anticipated frost.

How long does it take for organic fertilizers for lawns to work?

It could take 2 to 6 weeks, depending on various conditions, like soil temperature and humidity content. Organic fertilizer for lawns takes longer to process because soil microbes must naturally break them down before they can be used as plant food. So before the nutrients in organic fertilizer are accessible to plants, the fertilizer must essentially degrade.

How frequently should I apply organic fertilizer?

Between 3 to 4 weeks in small amounts is the standard practice for applying organic fertilizer to plants growing in organic soils. For clay soils, apply between 4 to 6 weeks following planting.

What’s the best time to water my natural lawns?

The morning is the optimum time for watering since your grass has all day to absorb the water and dry up in the sun. But in the summer, most lawns need 1 to 2 inches of water per week, so measure the amount of rain your lawn receives with a rain gauge. Speaking of watering, ensure your sprinkler water isn’t being squandered on your driveway or street.

How often should I water my organic lawn?

Like any lawn, the secret is to water sparingly yet deeply to encourage deep rooting and reduce drought and disease susceptibility.

TURF UNLIMITED ORGANIC LAWN CARE: GO BACK TO THE BEAUTY OF BASICS

Taking care of your lawn organically can be overwhelming, but it’s merely going back to simplicity. So if you’re dreaming of having a luscious, green lawn, let Turf Unlimited actualize your dreams. Turf Unlimited is a team of organic lawn care professionals.

Our services include overseeding, fertilization, grub control, aeration, and so much more. So call our team at (888) 649-9919 to start your natural lawn care journey and switch to an eco-friendly lawn today!

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