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! :)
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:
pam - gardengal
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.
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.
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.
nice generic slave labor made sneakers that end up in the land fills as fast
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)
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.
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
If I wanted a big flawless expanse of grass around me, I'd live on a
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
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
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).
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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