0rganic lawn care

Hi! I was wondering if anyone would be so kind as to point me towards links that can help me learn how to care for our lawn organically without hazardous chemicals. I did a google search, but found mostly vendor sites which I don't trust that much.
I would be also interested to know what organic lawncare regimes people here have found to work for them. We are planning to aerate our lawn this weekend, and my husband is impatient and wants to fertilize in the chem-lawn kind of way, but he says he is willing to try organic methods if I can come up with some quickly! :)
Thanks!
-kim
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I applaud your desire to maintain an organic lawn - lawns are one of the biggest residential contributors to ecological damage. Between excessive fertilization, weed and pest control chemicals, depletion of natural resources by overwatering and the pollution created by gas powered lawn mowers, edgers and blowers (not to mention noise pollution), lawns take a big toll on the environment.
King County and the City of Seattle have been working towards public education of organic or natural lawn care and they have an excellent website. Although regional in approach, the principles should apply to any part of the country. It's a good place to start:
http://www.cityofseattle.net/util/lawncare/6steps.htm
pam - gardengal
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says...

Thanks to all for your responses!
-kim
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Try just doing nothing! That's the ultimate organic plan.
I haven't fertilized my yard for at least 20 years. Probably 30. I never water it either, even during our central PA droughts.
I use no herbicides, either, because my dog wanders around the yard in his bare feet. My grandkids too, occasionally. I spend perhaps 30 minutes per summer digging dandelions. No big deal.
My grass has developed deep roots and remains green when other lawns turn brown. It is not a "showplace" lawn, and doesn't resemble a putting green, but it looks nice enough, and is healthy and safe for my family, my dog, and visiting wildlife.
I use a mulching mower and mow high--as high as I can set the mower. The clipping are rich in nitrogen and fertilize the lawn.

Good idea.

Rip-off, in my opinion.
If you MUST put something on your lawn, find out if your local sewage disposal plant sells or gives away compost.
vince norris
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As opposed to Reeboks or Nikes?
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My dog has too much common sense to blow his entire allowance on those ridiculously overpriced brands. Should he decide to wear shoes, he would choose a nice generic sneaker from Walmart, so he has money left for Milk Bones.
vince norris
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as they fall apart? Walmart does more damage to the environment than 1000 lawns with chemical fertilizer. I won't set a foot in any of their massive doors. (and I don't use chemical fertilizers on my lawn either)
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This is what the city recommends. This can be applied to any part of the country, just change the dates. Turf does not need fertilizer till it's mowed twice, in spring.
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/lawncare.htm
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Why have a lawn?
I grew up in the '50's and '60's in suburbs where people were obsessed with their lawns; their mania seemed a colossal waste of time, energy and money. (In those days environmental concerns were essentially non-existent)
If I wanted a big flawless expanse of grass around me, I'd live on a golf course.
I have grass growing around my house, but nobody would call it a lawn, not with moss, violets, English daisies, weeds and other interesting plants mixed in with it. A vast swatch of monoculture lawn is a sea of boredom, IMHO.
A perfect lawn would be nearly impossible without the use of herbicides or a large crew of weed pullers willing to spend their weekends and summers crouched over the crabgrass and purslane.
J. Del Col
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snipped-for-privacy@mail.ab.edu says...

It was there when we bought the house, and lawns are a nice place for kids to play! I personally don't care if there are some weeds in the grass, but I would like it to be thick and healthy, and I am in the process of trying to deprogram my husband from the perfect lawn syndrome, which is why I'm looking for organic ways of making the lawn look better.
-kim

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That's how I feel, too. My neighbors can attest to the fact that I'm on my knees a lot weeding the lawn. The weeds still win. I put a thin layer of compost on every so often for fertilizer. My husband mows (I wish he'd mow a little higher, but I can't complain too much because he does it. If I complain a lot, he'll make me do it). I have a huge problem with using herbicides, so I use handtools. I don't like inorganic fertilizers, so I use compost. The lawn isn't perfect, but it's livable and I don't have to worry so much if my 8 month old gets a handful in her mouth (I try not to let her, but sometimes I'm just not fast enough).
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I have these beautiful yellow flowers all over my lawn. ;) Honestly I have grown to appreciate the beauty of dandelions.
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So far, I've been fighting the burrs. They are not fun to step on with bare feet! Dandelions will come later.
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Kim E. wrote:

I recently received a brochure in the mail from a company called Lawn Dog, offering an organic lawn-care service. I figure I'll at least let them make a presentation.
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Here are my suggestions:
Spread a thin layer of compost. This can pretty much be done any time of the year, and as little as once a year.
Use something like corn gluten meal as a preemergant in early spring before seeds start to germinate (I've never tried this, maybe others can offer advice?) Hand pull what weeds do come up.
Mow high, it should keep weed seeds in shade, so they don't come up. Oh, and use a mulching mower, so you are not taking nutrients from the lawn. (This means you will need to mow often)
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