Thoughts on an Organic Lawn

In my last post, I talked about soil pH and how it effects all plants. With that in mind, I thought that I would discuss organic lawn care today. It may not be the sexiest topic, but for those of you who don’t have an “edible” lawn, it is important.

Hurray, the thermometer’s red line is on the rise today!  There are fluffy white clouds lazily drifting across the sky.  Since it is Sunday, they must be taking a day of rest. It is a spectacular spring day.

Soon the drone of distant mowers, sweet scents of spring flowers and the earthy essence of freshly cut grass will fill the air. Spring seems to have finally chased winter away for good.

Over the years, my concept of what a lawn is has changed. Early in life, I wanted the perfect “weed” free lawn obtained through periodic application of toxic chemicals. It wasn’t good for the dogs, the children, or pretty much anything living creature, probably not even the grass. The clippings couldn’t be used as mulch or compost to feed the garden. As I’ve gained wisdom and knowledge, I see value in a more natural approach.

Organic lawn care relies on a number of strategies to accomplish its goals. One of the biggest mistakes people make is cutting their grass too short and not cutting it often enough. I learned this by getting behind one year and noticing how green and lush the grass stayed when it was longer. Longer, stronger grass blades with a strong root system shadow and choke out weeds. We use a cordless Black and Decker electric, mulching mower set at the maximum height adjustment. We try to cut once a week, sometimes more in the spring if it is rainy. If we need grass clipping for mulch or compost, we will bag the grass every so often.

In times of drought, longer grass stays greener longer and survives better in tough conditions. We haven’t watered our lawn in over 20 years.

Lawn Aeration Sandals

Lawn Aeration Sandals

For fertilizer, we use a 4 step organic product from Agway. We’ve had very good results with this product and highly recommend it. In a future post I will explain the numbers like 9-0-0 and 4-2-4 that are associated with fertilizers for those of you not familiar with their meaning. For now, it suffices to say that this product is well balanced and covers the needs of most grasses. A broadcast spreader makes application a breeze.

Other than that, all we do is aerate twice a year with lawn aeration sandals.  These are like strap-on roller skates with large spikes on the soles.  The spikes penetrate the ground and allow oxygen, water, and nutrients into the soil for use by the grass roots.  If your lawn drains poorly, due to high clay content or is heavily compacted aeration will help.  Aeration reduces thatch build up from mulching grass clippings by boosting microorganism populations.  Here is a picture of a pair of aeration sandals.

To finish up, I have another article from Paul Wheaton.  It is humorous and contain lots of good information.  You can find it here: Organic Lawn Care For the Cheap and Lazy

 

 

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