Taking care of your lawn is about more than making it look good. Lawns play an important part in protecting beneficial micro-organisms, trapping dust, and filtering rainwater contaminants as well as providing oxygen. However, maintaining lawns can have negative impacts on the environment unless proper care methods are used. That is why organic lawn care has become the way to go for many households across the country. Not only it is environmentally friendly but it also provides health benefits to people.
If you wonder what you can change in your lawn maintenance routine in order to stop using harmful agents such as pesticides, here are a few tips that can help you set up an organic lawn care routine that works wonders for your property.
1. Test the Soil
Find out what nutrients you need to add to your lawn in order to keep it healthy by testing the soil for acidity as well as nutrient content. This will give you the information you need to decide what fertilizers to use, what kind of grass to plant, and how to care for your lawn properly. Home pH tests are inexpensive and can tell you how acidic your soil is, but using a professional landscape company to test it for nutrients as well can give you a better understanding of what your lawn requires.
2. Use organic fertilizers
Use natural fertilizers such as compost to provide the soil with the nutrients it needs according to what it needs and lacks in before the colder months set in. Put a compost box in your yard and fill it with garden and kitchen waste such as fallen leaves, egg shells, grass clippings, and fruit peels and after they have decomposed spread the mixture on the soil. It will make it richer and healthier.
3. Choose the Right Grass
Take your climate conditions and soil type into account when deciding what king of grass to grow on your lawn and choose one that is well suited to your environment. Although grass might not seem like a big deal, you can make your life a lot easier later on when you have to maintain it if you make an informed decision from the start. Some types of grass grow tall while others grow short and there are some that can resist intense sun or can tolerate a lot of shade. Newer types are resistant to many diseases and grow slower while others can withstand drought. Take all of these factors into account and pick a type of grass that will work well for your lawn.
4. Learn from the Weeds
The weeds that appear on our lawns are usually met with a swift blade and don’t get a second look. However, they can often provide valuable insight into the condition of the soil, so paying closer attention to what is growing on your lawn might be worth the effort. For instance having many dandelions in your yard indicates that the soil is too rich in magnesium and doesn’t have enough calcium. Weeds are bound to come back unless soil conditions change, so look into what causes them to sprout out of the ground before ripping them out of it.
5. Don’t Just Kill Every Insect You See
Organic lawn care focuses on warding off the actual pests as opposed to spraying pesticides over every inch of grass and killing every insect in sight. Only 2 percent of the insects on your lawn are actual pests, the rest are beneficial to the soil and the grass. Try using traps for actual pests like apple maggots or natural solutions such as beneficial nematodes to control the grub population. If you need to use pesticides look for non-toxic ones based on food matter as these are not harmful to your pets and children. Try to get some information about the insects in your yard and identify the ones that are actual pests, then focus on getting rid of those in particular by using organic lawn care products, sparing the rest if possible. When in doubt, resort to organic lawn care companies for specialized insect management.
6. Leave the Leaves Alone
Don’t rake fallen leaves off your lawn during autumn, let them decompose into the ground or put them into your compost bin. If left on the ground, fallen leaves become natural fertilizers for the soil as well as a shelter for many small animals and insects during colder months.
7. Conserve Water
Water your lawn wisely and you can cut down on the amount of water you use significantly especially during warmer days. Try to water it in the morning, deeply and infrequently and use an automated shutoff control to manage the amount of water used on your lawn when you are away from home.
8. Mow Like a Pro
You can contribute to your organic lawn care routine when mowing it by making sure you cover a few steps. Firstly, keep your blades sharp so that you cut down on the amount of fuel you use or, even better, use an electric mower or a manual one to eliminate the backyard air pollution caused by the fuel in the first place. Only cut as much as one third of the grass’ length to keep it healthy and try not to mow your lawn unless the short-term weather forecast contains rain.
9. Aerate the Soil
Landscape companies can provide organic lawn care services such as aerating the soil. If the soil is too compacted and not aerated properly, weeds can sprout and the grass can suffer, so aerating it when necessary will allow water, nutrients and air to reach beneath the surface and improve your soil conditions. It shouldn’t happen too often since organic lawn care typically protects the soil well enough and natural fertilizers will allow the soil to self-aerate, while the earthworms and micro-organisms in the ground will do the work for you.
10. Grow a Clover Lawn
Clover brings more than good luck to your lawn. As a natural fertilizer it used to be all over American lawns in the past, before being branded a weed by marketing campaigns trying to sell herbicides that had the side effect of killing the clover as well as the weeds. Clover is actually good for your lawn as it fixes nitrogen from the air, is drought resistant, and stays green. Plus, earthworms love to eat it so just leave it be.
11. Use the grass clippings
The grass clippings from your lawn mower are not the same as thatch as they have a high content of water and immediately begin to decompose back into the soil if left alone, which adds nutrients to the ground later on. So, use them as a natural form of fertilization as opposed to throwing them away. They do not cause thatch and are actually beneficial to your lawn if left on the soil.