Organic Lawn Care – Complete Guide


Organic Lawn Care – Complete Guide

Complete Guide - Organic Lawn Care

Organic Lawn Care is a grass-roots organization dedicated to promoting responsible lawn care and landscaping through education, outreach, and great transactions. Hybrids are created for people who require specialized services, such as fencing or pesticide treatment. No matter if you think you’re too busy or not in the best physical shape to care for your lawn, we can all help out with this critical task.

Growing a healthy and safe organic lawn is as simple as using common sense—organic common sense, that is. If you build the soil and use a few basic cultural techniques, you’ll have a lush stand of turfgrass without harming kids, pets, wildlife, the water supply, and the rest of the environment. Here are three easy steps to get started on thick, green organic lawn care.

Organic lawn care is an easy-to-follow systematic approach to a beautiful lawn

You may think that without the use of insecticides and pesticides one would have difficulty growing lush grass.  Not so.

Insecticides and pesticides destroy the ecosystem in the soil: the worms, microorganisms, and microorganisms that live in the soil and keep it alive and healthy.  The result is that the soil becomes depleted, and the grass is not getting full nourishment, so it becomes prey to bugs.

The secret to a beautiful lush lawn is to keep your grass healthy.  Compare that to your health.  If you stay healthy, you can fight viruses and diseases more easily, right?  The same goes with any plant including grass.

To achieve a healthy lawn, consider using this step-by-step organic lawn care system:

1. Cut no more than a third of the grass blade length and leave the clippings in the grass.  This reduces the need for fertilizer by 30%.

Set your lawn mower higher to mow high – up to 3 inches- and mow often.  Not only should you mow higher, but you should also keep your blades sharp so that you do not tear and injure the grass.

Grass doesn’t drink its food through its roots. Like any other plant, the grass gathers its nutrients through its roots but manufactures its food in its leaves — the green part of the leaf. Therefore if the leaf is cut back to one inch high, it is as healthy as you would be with one meal a week.

The lowest you should cut it is two inches (5 cm) minimum, and three inches (8cm) is best.

A second reason for keeping the grass blade at least 2 inches long is that the long blade shades the roots so keeps them cool.  Secondly, longer grass makes it more difficult for weeds to grow.

2. Test The ph Of Your Soil — if grass cracks, the ph is off

Test the ph of your soil. If you don’t know how to do this, you will find the full explanation at

Grass requires slightly acidic soil (ph of 6.5 to 7 is best).  Soil that is too acidic can be ‘sweetened” with garden lime. Please be careful with lime. You need very little to make a difference. Follow directions carefully.

On the other hand, soil that is too alkaline can be made more “sour” by adding sulfur. (Again, follow directions carefully)

3. Fertilize Only As Needed

The best time to fertilize is in the fall. Most lawns need to be fertilized every year because they need more nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium than soil usually contains (unless you mulch your clippings as mentioned above). Most fertilizers have these three elements but they vary in proportion, depending on what you buy.

Avoid the stuff that makes your lawn grow quickly — your grass does not have time to root deeply; this new fast growth is weak and becomes easy prey to bugs.

Use a slow-release granular fertilizer. Organic fertilizers are best because they last the whole year and prevent weak green growth that bugs love to eat.

If you need a plant activator, use fish emulsion or kelp. Microbes feed on it and it makes better soil.

4. Aerate And Add Soil Amendments

Aeration is important to allow the grass roots to breathe in air to work properly.  A root trying to breathe in packed soil is comparable to a human trying to breathe with a plastic bag over his/her head.

Note that where the soil is compacted you will see a lot of dandelions. Rent a small aerator or hire an organic lawn business to do it once a year.

Next rake it all smooth, and overseed it with a bit of high-quality chewing fescue or perennial ryegrass.   Most ryegrasses have endorphins, so the thicker the better.  Then water the seed.

5. Water For Maximum Absorption

Watering deeply and not too often is best.  Watering properly will help your lawn grow deep roots that make it stronger and less vulnerable to drought.

Frequent shallow watering trains the roots to stay near the surface; thus the lawn is less able to find moisture during dry periods.

Bluegrass lawns need about one inch of water once a week. Fescues and perennial ryegrasses need only about half that much. Put a small can on the lawn before turning the sprinkler on to measure watering accurately.

Depending on local rainfall, soil type, the type of grass chosen, and the general health of the lawn, you may have more or less watering needs. However, no well-established lawn should need to be watered daily.

When you do water your lawn, try to imitate a slow, soaking rain by using soaker hoses, trickle irrigations, or other water-conserving methods. Watering should be done early in the morning.

Watering during a hot summer day is a waste because of evaporation. Apply about one inch of water — enough that it soaks 6 to 8 inches into the soil.  Then let the lawn dry out thoroughly before watering it again.

6. Top Dress With Compost and Topsoil

When you wish to level your ground and prepare for overseeding,  top dress with compost and/or topsoil.  Use “soil for grass” — not for the garden.

Putting down about 1/8 inch is best. Buy sterilized soil or certified weed-free soil.  You can also choose to use compost to relieve compaction.

7. Overseed With Grass Varieties Appropriate For The Specific Area

Like any plant, grass has preferences.  Some grass prefers a humid climate while others do very well in an area with water shortages.

Other factors to consider are the type of soil required, the nutrients they need, and their resistance to pests.

In addition, certain grasses grow well in the shade while others require full sun.  It might be to your advantage to check these factors before you buy grass seed for your lawn.

If you buy sod, you usually get bluegrass which has V-shaped leaves with fairly blunt ends.  Bluegrass needs a lot of water and sun compared to other grasses.

Chewings fescue has very fine leaves with slightly rolled edges and visible veins.  This grass grows well in shady areas.

The creeping red fescue is best for dry areas.

If you grow perennial ryegrass, you will notice that this grass (particularly the varieties “Cutter” and “Edge”) is good at resisting insect problems.  The ryegrass leaf has prominent veins and is shinier below than above

8. Dethatch When Thatch Is Too Thick

Have you ever noticed a layer of dead material between the grass blades and the soil?  If so, you were looking at thatch buildup.  If this thatch buildup gets to be more than half an inch thick, it will prevent the water and nutrients from reaching the soil.  Not good!

If your lawn is healthy, this thatch is kept in balance by the microorganisms and earthworms who help it decompose and release its nutrients into the soil.

However, sometimes certain grasses tend to form a thick layer of thatch or you may have overfertilized your lawn or used a fertilizer that made the grass grow quickly.

In such a situation, you can get rid of a lot of that thatch (especially in the spring) by giving your lawn a good raking or by using a machine that slices through the thatch layer to break it up.

Another way to get rid of some of the thatch is to sprinkle a thin layer of topsoil or compost.

Mow high your Organic Lawn Care

The simplest way to help your organic lawn grow up healthy and dense is to adjust your mower’s cutting height to its highest setting. Why? Tall blades of grass have more surface area exposed to the sun, enabling them to photosynthesize more sugars and starches for greater root growth. Greater root mass means better access to water and nutrients, so plants are more tolerant of drought and can recover more rapidly from dormancy.

  • Cut grass to 3 to 4 inches tall

Most grasses can be mowed to a height of 3 to 4 inches. Some varieties, particularly fine fescues, and centipede grass fall over at that height and should be mowed a half-inch to an inch shorter than other grasses.

  • Remove just one-third of the blade

No matter how tall the turf, refrain from cutting off more than one-third of each grass blade in any single mowing, or you risk stressing the grass. And cutting off just one-third will produce small clippings, which you should leave on your lawn right where they fall.

  • Keep the mower blade sharp

A dull lawnmower blade will tear grass, and the jagged wounds make the plants susceptible to infection and allow for more rapid evaporation. I recommend sharpening the mower blade after every 8 hours or so of cutting. Most hardware stores and any power-equipment dealer will sharpen your blade quickly and inexpensively.

Leave the clippings on the organic lawn care

As grass clippings decompose, they contribute valuable nitrogen to the soil, almost 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of soil each season, or about half of the law n’s annual fertilizer needs. They also add organic matter and provide a variety of other benefits to the soil and grass. Many people believe, however, that clippings left on the lawn contribute to thatch dead or dying grass parts (such as stems, stolons, crowns, and roots) that form a layer on top of the soil and obstruct moisture and oxygen from reaching plant roots. But just the opposite is true: Fresh clippings stimulate earthworm activity, which breaks down thatch.

Fear no weeds to get organic Lawn

You’ll leave no room for weeds if you mow your grass often (but not too low) with a sharp blade and grow it in soil that’s rich in organic matter and biological activity. Researchers at the University of Maryland confirmed that mowing cool-season turfgrasses to 3 inches high works as well as or better than herbicides for suppressing crabgrass. In my experience, dandelions, common purslane, and other low-growing annual weeds also do not survive in a lawn that’s cut high.

Organic Lawn Care Tips

Your lawn should be healthy lawn without pests, lawn diseases, or weeds but can you do that without putting harmful chemicals into the ground? It is possible to have a beautiful lush lawn without harming the environment. The use of chemical pesticides can be a health risk but can also kill insects that are favorable to your lawn. Runoff can eventually find its way into the water supply around your area.

Weed identification can be classified into two classes. These classifications are based on how they come out of the seed. In simple terms, Monocots are weedy grasses such as crabgrass. Dicots are broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, ground ivy, and clover. These two weed types are divided into three groups:

Perennial weeds:

have a life that spans no more than two years and is reproduced from new seeds every year.

Biennial weeds:

have a life of two years. They store up food reserves in the leaves and root system in the first year and produce seeds in the second year. They often mix with the perennials, as they are so similar.

Annual weeds:

are yearly weeds started from seeds, grow, and eventually flower producing more seeds in less than a year. There are summer annuals that germinate in the fall maturing in late fall, and winter annuals that will germinate in late spring.

If you are unsure of what weeds are in your yard, you can take samples to your county extension and they will help you identify them.

One of the most natural methods of controlling weeds is to have a vigorously growing turf cover. Correcting the underlying problem with the soil can control some weeds. For instance, without correcting the soil compaction, you will not be able to rid your lawn of knotweeds. Other weeds can be controlled by altering what you do to your lawn to favor the lawn instead of the weeds. Adjusting the mowing height of your lawnmower, changing the frequency of mowing, or changing the watering schedule can control weeds.

There are also very natural ways of controlling lawn pests and there are organic pest control products now on the market. Some of the organic pest controls use natural ingredients such as citrus oils; garlic, hot peppers, and cloves are also natural ingredients in some new organic pest and weed control.

The natural organic weed controls with lemon as its base can kill various pests including aphids, bean beetles, fire ants, and our all-time favorite, Japanese beetles.

Another organic lawn and garden spray has a base of sesame oil, clove oil, and thyme oil. It can be used on fruits, vegetables, and your lawn. It is good for repelling such insects as fleas, ants, grasshoppers, and ticks.

Fire ants are prevalent in the south and are a danger because they sting and could potentially be a threat to small children. Ants can also nest in your lawn and can cause problems while mowing. Fire ants are attracted to the bait and can end up carrying the bait back to the nest. That will either kill the queen or leave her infertile. Dry granular bait can be applied directly to ant mounds. These baits are made with natural oils that are safe to use around pets, children, and food crops. This same bait, used for fire ants, can also be effective in controlling many other garden and lawn pests.

Another organic garden spray has a base of black pepper and garlic and can be safely used on lawns and gardens. This spray will help control mosquitoes, gnats, fleas, and ticks.

An added benefit to using organic pest control is they are designed for long-term pest control. That means you will spend less time fighting those pests and more time enjoying your lawn.

Of course, you can still do the tried-and-true method of hand weeding, but that is only practical for the occasional plant that springs up. The easiest and safest ways are to treat your lawn and garden for pest and weed control with all-natural, organic products that can be readily purchased from any store that sells home and garden supplies.

Look at all the options before you decide to use chemicals that are harmful to your plants, animals, and water supply.

The Benefits of Using an Organic Fertilizer for your lawn

Organic fertilizer for your lawn offers many benefits. First, it offers peace of mind to know that your lawn is environmentally friendly, safe, and does not contain harmful elements that could hurt children or animals. All lawns depend upon the soil to derive the nutrients and minerals that they require to grow and thrive. Organic fertilizer can help ensure that your lawn receives everything that it needs- mainly phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

When you use an organic you can rest assured that your lawn is a great place for your children and pets to play. Chemical fertilizers are dangerous and can create an acid buildup in plants that will eventually prove to be harmful. Using organic products provides many benefits such as helping to create healthy and large vibrant flowers, and improving the quality of the soil by enriching it with the minerals that it is needed. Some other benefits derived from using organic products include promoting strong healthy plants that have a high tolerance and resistance to disease.

You’ll also find that when you use an organic fertilizer your composting will be much more successful. As you compost regularly, your lawn and plants will produce an abundance of healthy growth and you can rest assured that your lawn is a haven for the environment as well as your children.

Understanding how to take care of your lawn is critical for ensuring that it thrives. You must always begin by choosing the best fertilizer for your lawn’s needs. It’s important to determine what minerals your lawn may be lacking to devise a strategy that will restore the right amount of minerals to your soil. By choosing specific fertilizers you can treat specific conditions that may affect your lawn as well as your plants.

In addition to using an organic product, there are other steps that you can take to ensure that you have a wonderfully vibrant lawn.

First, you should ensure that you mow your lawn properly. It is never a good idea to mow your lawn at extremely short lengths as this can cause the lawn to go into shock. It is also recommended to fertilize your soil in the fall and spring months. The best way to determine whether or not you should fertilize your soil is by having your soil tested.

Once your soil is tested, you will be able to choose the best fertilizer for your needs. If you find that you need to add more topsoil to your lawn, do that as well. By taking the steps necessary to ensure your property receives all of the nutrients that it needs, you can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful lawn.

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