If you think you can only obtain a lush, beautiful lawn with the use of chemicals, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. You can achieve a healthy, easy to care for a lawn without applying conventional pesticides, weed killers, and fertilizers! Organic lawn care includes the use of organic fertilizers, appropriate mowing practices, and natural weed killers to develop a hardy, healthy turf. When you use organic products, you improve your soil structure, supply roots with nutrients, and help build a pest-resistant turf.
Follow our organic lawn care guide for tips on developing a lawn that will have others ‘green with envy.’ Share this organic lawn care guide with friends and neighbors. You may even inspire them to join the organic lawn care brigade!
Obtain a Soil Test
Healthy soil encompasses lots of organic matter and is packed with microbial life. Rich, fertile soils are the building blocks of healthy grass that naturally wards of pests and weeds.
Take the guesswork out of your soil worries and have your soil tested by the experts. First on the list for our organic lawn care guide is to obtain a soil sample and bring it to your local extension office or nursery for analysis. This is a great starting point for understanding your native soil and gaining insights from the experts about your soil type, how to improve it, and which nutrients are lacking. Have a soil test performed on your soil regularly to assess and amend your lawn’s soil for optimum health.
Steps to a Healthy Organic Lawn
A robust and vibrant lawn has been nurtured by ensuring healthy soil, regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing during the appropriate seasons.
Mowing for Organic Lawn Care
- Mow higher and more frequently.
- Mowing your lawn too short or removing too many inches of grass at one time reduces the overall strength and vigor of the grass.
- There is a correlation between the height of the cut and root depth. Mowing higher encourages deeper rooting.
- Follow the 1/3 cutting rule. Cut your lawn frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the grass height is removed at any given time. For example, if your lawnmower height is set to 2.5 inches, mow the lawn when it reaches a height of 3.5 inches tall.
- Mulch grass clippings as you mow. The tops of the grass blades are thinner than the base and will break down quickly, providing beneficial nitrogen to your turf.
Efficient Watering for Natural Lawns
- Water the lawn deeply and infrequently.
- As always, if there are water usage restrictions in your region, adhere to those watering guidelines.
Aerating your Organic Lawn
Aeration means removing plugs of soil from the lawn so that air, water, and nutrients can access grass root systems. This is most easily done with a rented gas-powered aerator but can be completed with a manual rolling aeration tool. Soil can become compacted over time, and debris can accumulate and choke out your lawn. The ideal time to aerate your lawn to manage soil compaction is in the spring, as temperatures begin to warm up.
Overseeding Your Natural Lawn
Overseeding new lawns or spots that need refreshing can do wonders for bolstering your lawn and building a thick a lush turf.
- Begin mid-October in mild-winter climates; in cold-winter climates, overseed in mid-September.
- Patch up bare patches in the lawn. Use a stiff rake to scratch the soil with a hard rake, scatter your grass seed, and cover with a thin layer of compost or high-quality garden soil. Water frequently until grass seed germinates.
Using Organic Lawn Fertilizers
Organic lawn fertilizers use organic animal and plant bi-products to improve soil structure for a healthy, strong, and long-lasting lawn.
- The best organic lawn fertilizers contain natural ingredients such as plant extracts, kelp meal, seaweed, alfalfa meal, chicken manure, and bone meal. These non-toxic substances provide nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for healthy, robust lawn growth.
- True organic lawn fertilizer will never be made with synthetic additives or ingredients.
Avoiding Chemicals for Organic Lawn care
As you follow the organic lawn care guide, it is of utmost importance that you avoid using chemicals on your property. Chemical-based lawn fertilizers can pollute water, harm our wildlife, and cause adverse health issues for people and pets. Applying pesticides to control pests and weeds can cause damage to your lawn, as they wipe out beneficial microbial life that makes nutrients available to plants. Chemical additions promote disease, weaken the grass, and encourage thatch build-up that can choke out your turf.
Dealing with Weeds and Pests in your Natural Lawn
Accepting a few weeds and garden pests in your lawn is part of the organic lawn care experience. Many plants that we label as weeds are beneficial for our lawns and the environment. Plants like clover actually feed the soil with nutrients as it grows. And by having healthy soil that is filled with microbial life, you can combat problem-causing lawn pests.
- The best way to mitigate weeds is by pulling them out at the root.
- Corn gluten can be used as a weed suppressant when it is applied in early spring.
- Damaging grubs can be naturally controlled with beneficial nematodes within healthy soil.
Transitioning from Chemically Treated to Organic Lawns
If your lawn is currently chemically treated, it will take some time to restore it, but an organic lawn will cost much less to maintain over time. Once established, an organic lawn uses less fertilizer, less water, and less maintenance than chemically dependant ones.
Transitioning lawns may not look vibrant and healthy over the first year. As you follow our organic lawn care guide, your soil and lawn will adapt to becoming more balanced with nutrients and microbial life. Your lawn will gradually become more healthy than ever without the pollutants of chemical toxins.