Sunday, March 2, 2014
Have you ever noticed that every time a lawn care company treats your lawn, they post warning signs to not have pets or people on the grass for 24 hours? That doesn’t sound like something that is good for you or your family.
Chemical fertilizers and weed killers kill the microbes in the dirt as well. These microbes are extremely important to supporting the plants growing. They help provide the nutrients your turf needs to be resilient through all seasons.
So, what are the options? You can go all natural and organic. It takes 2-3 years for the microbes to rebound and your turf to get the full benefit of going all natural.
The system we like is from Organica. It is applied 4 times a year. The cool thing about organic, natural fertilizers is that they do not burn the lawn. You don’t have to worry about applying too much, like you do with chemical fertilizers. Don’t be concerned either that the NPK numbers on the bag are lower. Natural products don’t get washed away like chemical fertilizers so you don’t need the high numbers.
In late fall and early spring, they have a Lawn Booster that you apply; it is 8-1-1. It contains corn gluten meal, steamed bone meal, sulfate of potash and natural soil bacteria. It simultaneously promotes turf growth & enhances biological activity in the soil profile. This is really important-having microbes in the fertilizer to repopulate your lawn. It also contains corn gluten. This is a pre-emergent weed killer. For the spring application, apply when the forsythia bushes start to bloom.
Late spring and summer, they have a Kelp Booster Plus. Kelp Booster has plant growth hormones to give plants added resilience. It provides essential nutrients to promote cell division, root development and growth.
They used to have 4 different types so if you see these, they are great to use as well.
Espoma, a good all natural company, came out with a system last year. It is also a 4 season system. First is early Spring Lawn Booster (Feb-Apr); second is late spring All Season Lawn Food (Apr-June); third is Summer Revitalizer (June-Aug), and fourth is Fall Winterizer (Sep-Nov). They also have an Organic Weed Preventer (with corn gluten it needs to be applied pre-emergent in the spring) and a high nitrogen fertilizer Lawn Food.
The great thing about organic, all natural fertilizers is that they do not burn the lawn. You can also use them on your edible garden and they are people and pet friendly. No “Stay Off the Lawn” signs needed!
You will have a lush, green lawn in 2-3 years using this system. You won’t have the thatch that you see in chemical yards either. Make sure that you are reseeding to keep the carpet thick to crowd out weeds.
I would say this is the hardest part of organic-the weeds. Options are using vinegar on hot days on the weeds, using a propane burn torch, or good, old fashioned pulling. If you do resort to chemicals for weeds, try to spray as local as possible and do so close to when you are going to apply your next round of fertilizer to help with repopulate the microbes the chemicals killed.
Be sure to use the pre-emergent (corn gluten) every year when the forsythias bloom. This will keep the weed seeds from sprouting. If they don’t sprout in the spring, they won’t get a stand going in your yard, making it much easier to pull the few that do make it into your yard. Corn gluten is also a natural fertilizer and will green up the lawn at the same time.
A natural, organic lawn needs much less watering than a chemical lawn and stays green almost all summer with no watering.