If you’re curious about organic lawn care, you’re not alone. A lot of homeowners are turning to organic lawn care because it’s safer for their children and pets as well as they’re using less chemicals that can runoff into stormwater drains.
Does Organic Lawn Care Work?
In a nutshell, yes.
However, it takes a few years to see a complete transformation to a healthy, thick lawn. But researchers have found that you actually start seeing a water savings in the first year of using organic yard care.
According to an Angie’s List article, you’ll use a third less water in the first year of using organic fertilizers and soil amendments. And in the second year of organic lawn care, you’ll use half as much water as you normally would with synthetic fertilizers.
Organic top dressing, fertilizers and soil amendments help to conserve water and encourage deep root growth to find moisture stores deep in the soil. Also, these amendments help the soil with better water absorption and storage.
Organic lawn care’s goal: to feed the soil so it can house a healthy lawn. Organic lawn care puts natural products, such as chicken manure, chopped leaves, compost teas and other organic materials into the earth to feed those microorganisms.
These microorganisms, bacterial and fungal, break down organic matter. This organic matter also feeds earthworms and other “bugs” that naturally aerate your soil and make it a nutrient powerhouse for thick, green grass.
If you’re not ready to fully embrace organic lawn care methods, that’s okay. You can start with Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a proven method using organic or natural methods first to control pests and weeds before using synthetic products.
And when you use synthetic products with IPM, you use them less often and in fewer quantities. You’re using synthetics as a sustainable approach to lawn care.
10 Ways to Go from a Synthetic Lawn to an Organic Lawn
If you’re ready to change from using synthetics to keep your yard grass green, bug- and weed-free, you need to know what organic products will create this kind of lawn. Keep in mind that organic yard care is more labor-intensive than using chemicals to keep your lawn looking its best.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to transform your yard into an organic one:
- Get a soil test: You won’t know what nutrients your soil needs until you test it to see what’s missing. A soil test will show you if your dirt is low on nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) or potassium (K).
You should also test your soil’s pH because grass won’t grow in soil that’s too acidic or alkaline. Your soil should be slightly acidic at 6.5. You can buy soil test kits online, at your favorite big box store, or your local garden center.
You can also order a soil test from your local extension. You’ll send soil samples back for testing and then, you’ll get a report recommending how much of each macronutrient you need to add as well as the pH of your soil.
- Switch to organic fertilizers: There are a lot of great organic fertilizers that you can buy. Take your soil test results with you to the store to find an organic fertilizer with the right amount of nutrients to help your lawn.
Organic lawn fertilizers use natural products, such as plant, fish and manure byproducts. Since they come as pellets or other granular forms, you spread them on your lawn using a tow spreader or push spreader.
- Grasscycling: One way to add 25% more nitrogen into your soil naturally is by grasscycling. You set your mower to the mulching setting to chop up your spent lawn grass.
The clippings are made up of mostly water so they’ll disintegrate into your soil faster compared to not mulching them first. Also, grasscycling doesn’t cause thatch growth in your lawn.
- Mow high with sharp mower blades: If you want a healthy lawn with less weeds the organic way, then you need to mow your turf high. Set your mower to only take the top third off yard grass every time you mow.
Mow in opposite directions and wait until your lawn is dry before you cut it. These mowing tips will help you in growing organic turf.
- Water early in the morning or in the evening: Most lawn care experts will tell you to water your lawn in the early morning hours.
And yet, dew will form on your lawn overnight whether you water it or not. Dew proves that water drops can lay on your lawn grass without causing disease. Likewise, you can water your lawn deeply in the evening as well as in the early morning hours.
The key to successful watering is irrigating deeply once or twice a week. Your yard grass doesn’t need a daily sprinkle. Instead, it needs 1”- 2” of water per week. If you have 1” – 2” of rain on a particular week, you won’t need to water your yard grass at all.
- Topdress your lawn in the summer with compost: To give your dirt a nutrient boost in the middle of the summer, add organic topdressing. You only need a quarter inch of top dressing to give your soil extra nutrients to sustain a healthy yard.
- Don’t forget to dethatch your lawn: Not every lawn needs dethatching. Some turfgrass varieties don’t produce a lot of thatch. However, some turf produce a lot of thatch, such as Kentucky blue and creeping red fescue. Use a lawn dethatcher to loosen up thatch in your yard.
- Don’t forget to core aerate your lawn: Caring for your lawn is a lot like farming. While farmers till their fields, you aerate your lawn with an aerator to pull plugs out of the soil. This helps the soil breathe, take in nutrients and water as well as relieve soil compaction.
- Soil amendments help your dirt recover: Organic soil amendments, such as compost teas, are rich in microorganisms and other nutrients. These amendments help reduce compaction, improve the soil’s texture as well as improve the soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients. You apply soil amendments in spring and fall.
- Compost: Compost is organic matter. It’s been called a miracle amendment because it relieves soil compaction and improves water drainage. It also helps make the soil more acidic or more alkaline depending on the pH of the soil.
Compost is a mixture of alive and dead organic matter. It feeds the ecosystem underground so lawn grass thrives aboveground.
How Brinly Products Can Help You with Organic Lawn Care
At Brinly-Hardy, we have a variety lawn care and garden attachments that help you start and maintain an organic lawn care program on your property, including products that can help with the 10 steps above!
You can find our lawn care and garden attachments at these retail outlets:
If you have questions about Brinly-Hardy lawn equipment, call our customer service at 877-728-8224, or you can fill out our contact form.
Our customer service department is open from Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.