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Organic Lawn Care Basics

An introduction to the principles of organic lawn care

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Organic Lawn Care Basics
photo © flickr user jemsweb

Organic lawn care is a growing trend not just for lawn care companies but also for homeowners looking for an alternative to chemical pesticides and fertilizers. More and more studies are concluding what many people have thought about conventional lawn care for a long time - it's bad. Widespread use of chemical herbicides and insecticides are harmful to pets, children, and the environment. Chemical fertilizers add salts to the soil, contribute to the pollution of waterways and depend heavily on fossil fuels to manufacture. It's no wonder people are looking for an organic solution, but where do you start? At the beginning of course.

The Precautionary Principle - Kind of ground zero for the organic movement, the precautionary principle is a simple philosophy used to guide decision making involving conditions where the outcome is unknown. In other words, better safe than sorry. This principle is used to shape environmental lawn in North America and Europe especially when it comes to the unknown long term effects of chemicals and genetically modified products on people and the environment. Read more...

The Food Web - The backbone of an organic lawn, the food web represents all the millions of microorganisms living in the soil and the role they play in an intricate web of life. The goal of an organic lawn care program is to improve and amend the soil until it can sustain grass largely unassisted. Insecticides can disrupt the food web by killing beneficial organisms as well as the target pests. If the food web is out of balance, conditions for growing grass are compromised.  Read more...

Easy IPM - Practicing basic Integrated Pest Management is fundamental to the success of an organic lawn care program. The four steps of IPM work to manage pests, avoid infestations, and deal with pests responsibly. IPM applies to all pests whether its a weed or a grub, the same rules apply. IPM involves establishing thresholds, scouting for pests, preventing pest outbreaks, and controlling if necessary. Read more...

Spring Routines Differ for Organic Lawns - Conventional lawn care programs are all about pre-emergent herbicides, fertilizer and de-thatching in the spring but an organic program is more about not disturbing the ground and letting the grass begin to grow on it's own. Crabgrass prevention for an organic lawn is more about not disrupting the seeds in the thatch and avoiding conditions where crabgrass will thrive. Read more...

Compost for Lawns - Applying compost is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. An organic lawn care program is driven by the amount of organic matter present in the soil. Rich, well made compost greens up the lawn and provides necessary microorganisms to the soil. As these microorganisms eat, digest, and become eaten, they are providing usable nutrients to the plants - a truly organic feeding. Read more...

Topdressing the Lawn - Adding compost to your lawn is one of the most important aspects of an organic lawn care program, so how is it done? The process is called topdressing and it is as old as the oldest golf courses in the world. Topdressing the lawn not only adds organic matter to the soil, it helps smooth out bumpy grass and can improve subsurface drainage depending on what is used as topdressing. Compost is ideal but sand or compost sand mixtures can also be used to transform the qualities of the soil. Read more...

Compost Tea on Lawns - Adding compost tea to the lawn is another form of organic feeding and adding microorganisms to the soil. Although compost tea lies in the more advanced area of organic lawn care, some organic lawn care companies offer compost tea applications. DIY tea brewers are becoming more commonplace and it is even possible to build your own brewer. Be warned though, it is not as easy as it might seem and a bad or improperly prepared compost tea can harm the turf and work in the opposite way it was meant to. Read more...

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