Feeding and Weeding Organic Lawn
Organic lawn maintenance helps keep a lawn green without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Organic Lawn Care Essentials
A green lawn is desirable and expected in most communities. Organic lawn care is a good alternative to using pesticides, herbicides, and commercial fertilizers. Earth-friendly lawn care can make lush green lawns with the added benefit that it is easy on the environment.
Mowing and watering are the cornerstones of organic lawn care. The two most important mowing practices are to mow high and to mulch the cut grass back into the lawn. When watering, the best practice is to water infrequently but long and deep. These practices keep the grass healthy and weeds at a minimum.
Feeding for Healthy Lawn Maintenance
The key to a successful organic lawn is in the soil quality and depth. The deeper the topsoil, the thicker and healthier the grasses will be. Of course, not everyone is blessed with deep topsoil. But instead of adding in chemical fertilizers, organic gardeners can build up the soil with organic materials.
Great topsoil must be alive with beneficial microbes and bugs. The best way to get them into the soil is to add compost and organic material. Dirt comes in many forms, but all soils are improved by adding organic material. Sandy soil will hold on to water better. Heavy clay soils will drain better and improve in aeration. Most organic gardeners prefer to avoid using chemical fertilizers. Adding compost is a safe alternative.
Top dressing the lawn with compost is a good way to add beneficial microbes to an already established lawn. Here are some guidelines to applying compost:
Weeding the Organic Lawn
The key to fighting weeds is to keep conditions favorable for the grass and unfavorable for the weeds. The goal is for the grass to naturally choke out the weeds. Proper mowing, watering, and feeding discourages most weeds. If weeds continue to thrive, it may be necessary to test and adjust the pH of the soil. For example, dandelions like a pH of about 7.5. Grass prefers a pH of 6.5. By adding lime to raise the pH or gardener’s sulphur to lower the pH, the soil can be adjusted to that the grass has the advantage.
When weeds sprout in the lawn, catch them early to hand pick and pull them out. For small areas of weed overgrowth, spray a solution of 20% vinegar and water. After weeds are removed, reseed the bare spots or overseed the entire lawn.
The key to reseeding is to have good seed-to-soil contact. Rake up and remove all dead leaves or loose debris. Lay down a thin layer of fine-sifted compost in the spots. Spread the seed and then walk all over it to force the seeds down into the soil. Water it in and don’t let it dry out for several weeks. The old rule-of-thumb is to water twice a day for two weeks, once a day for one week, and at least once a week thereafter. Don’t mow until the new grass is 2-3 inches tall.
Most homes in the suburbs or cities have lawns or grassy areas as well as gardens. Taking care of the lawn is the most common gardening activity. In fact, people spend more time on lawn gardening than they do reading books. Americans spend billions each year to keep their lawns looking good. Realtors know that well-kept lawns add much to a home’s value. It’s a good investment to take care of the lawn.
Author: Karla Beatty
Organic lawn care creates a lush, green, successful lawn in a healthy way. It is an Earth-friendly approach, without the use of commercial pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Observing and understanding the growth habits of grasses and weeds helps organic gardening to make sense. Mowing, watering, feeding, and weeding are all that are needed to keep a lawn grassy green and weed free.
Read more about organic gardening, lawn care, and the environment.