Are There Organic Lawn Care Programs Out There?
Organic is a buzzword we hear everywhere these days. Everything from our food to our clothes to our bed sheets is branded as organic. But what about your lawn? Is it even possible to have a healthy, dense, weed and pest-free lawn with no pesticides or herbicides? Do organic lawn care programs even exist?
The answer is a resounding yes! Organic lawn care is becoming the standard for a beautiful yet environmentally-conscious landscape. The keys to making organic lawn care work in your yard are to conduct a soil test, choose a native or organic grass sod when first installing your lawn, fertilizing with compost or organic fertilizers, and using organic pesticide and herbicide solutions only as needed.
Test the Soil First
An inexpensive, simple soil test can tell you a lot about your lawn’s health. Results from the soil test will reveal your lawn’s deficiencies and help you choose proper soil amendments. Make sure to gather soil from several different parts of your lawn to send off for analysis. Different parts of your yard may have different amendment needs. Before adding soil amendments, cut your lawn to about two inches, remove all dead matter, and aerate thoroughly. Check out your local universities or extension offices for cheap or free soil testing.
Choose the Best Grass
Choosing a grass that is appropriate for your climate is essential for the success of any organic lawn care program. Native grasses are always a good choice for organic lawns, as they are made to thrive in the exact conditions of your area. Here in Florida, Perennial Peanut and Bahia grass are great choices for organic landscapes.
Fertilize Like a Pro
You have several choices for fertilizer when transitioning to an organic lawn care program. Compost is the most environmentally-friendly option. You can create a small composting system in one corner of the yard by depositing food scraps into a composting barrel and turning it regularly. After a while, you’ll have a rich, dark compost that any plant will love. Another unique option for fertilizing your lawn is adding nitrogen-rich clover. Not only will clover bring a variety of pollinators to your yard, but it will also deposit nitrogen deep into your soil, improving its quality over time. Some people think of clover as a weed, but true organic lawn care pros know how beneficial clover can be. When compost or clover just isn’t enough, commercial organic fertilizers can be used.
Keep Out Weeds and Pests
Weed and pest control is likely the number one hassle organic landscapers face. Weeds and pests thrive in unhealthy soil with sparse grass. Soil amendments that you make after testing your soil should reduce the amount of both weeds and pests, but it will take time. Once your soil is on the way to recovery, you’ll begin to notice that the grass appears denser and deeper in color. This healthier, denser grass will allow fewer weeds. For pest control, several organic options exist on the market, including nematodes.
An important thing to remember about weeds and pests is that they’re almost always signs of other problems in your lawn. For example, the emergence of crabgrass could indicate that your soil is becoming too compacted in high-traffic areas. Lawns in need of water may become infested with chinch bugs. A lawn frequently watered at night might develop the fungal disease. Whatever the issue, correcting the underlying problem is the only way to keep it from coming back.
Organic lawn care programs are a mainstay of any professional lawn care company that sees itself as a good environmental steward. The many benefits of transitioning your lawn to organic far outweigh any initial costs, but you may need to adjust your expectations for the transition to be a success. If you are willing to patiently wait while your organic lawn grows, you will reap the benefits. If you’re more into immediate gratification, a traditional lawn care program might be more your speed. The most important thing is to have a program in place to keep your lawn looking its best all year long. No matter what type of lawn care program you choose, you can find top-quality sod for your project at www.freshsod.com.