Organic lawn care doesnt mean you sit back and watch as weeds infiltrate your lawn until dandelion lint covers your sidewalk. Nor does it mean that you need to be out on hands and knees from sunrise until sunset, hand-pulling crabgrass and invasive weeds in order to have the lush green carpet of your neighbors chemically treated lawns. What organic lawn care does mean is that with a good lawn care plan and a minimum of work, you can have an attractive addition to your landscape that is safe for both your family and the environment.
In organic lawn care, as in all organic gardening, the foundation for building a great lawn is your soil. The first step in planning a lawn is to find out what kind of dirt is under your grass. A soil test, from your county extension agent or other lawn care professional, tells you whether its sand or clay based, nutrient rich or nitrogen poor, acid or alkaline. From there, you can decide how to improve (amend) it and choose the seed that will give you more green for your colorful US dollar.
A basic rule of thumb in organic lawn care is that its more important to feed the soil than to fertilize the grass. Nutrient rich soil holds moisture, entices beneficial insects, and maintains a healthy environment for microorganisms that fight disease, deters pests and parasites, and generally help keep your lawn growing and green. Six to ten inches of good top soil is worth its weight in green for your lawn!
A mulching mower solves two problems in organic lawn care with just a few swipes of its blades. First of all, when mowing, always keep a high clip (2 ½ to 3 inches) unless its your final mowing in the fall. Short grass clippings and especially fine mulch from a mulching mower will fall in between the cut blades of grass and reach the soil where they quickly decay, adding nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil. Because grass is very efficient in its use of nitrogen, composting your lawn with grass clippings can radically cut down on your fertilization needs. Grass clippings alone can contribute up to two pounds of the two to six pounds per 1000 square feet that your lawn needs to stay healthy.
During dry seasons, an organic lawn care basic is to water your lawn infrequently but deeply. Deep watering forces grass roots down while over-watering allows them to remain near the top. Deeply rooted lawns better compete with invasive weeds.
In addition to helping your lawn retain moisture, annual lawn aeration is one organic lawn care method of giving easy growing room to roots and provides circulation for the colonies of critters that tend your soil. The best time to aerate your lawn is in the spring. Not only will spring aeration break up the compaction of frost and snow accumulated during winter, spring rains also help aeration clumps decay quickly, further enriching your topsoil.
Hans is the owner and one of the editors of The Lawn Mower Guide a Collection of Articles about Lawn Mowers and Lawn Care
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