The principles of organic lawn management can be defined as a systems approach. It’s more than just a product-driven program and has become the standard in conventional turfgrass management. A true organic lawn care program is more than just feeding the grass, it all begins with the soil. If you create a healthy soil it will sustain a healthy lawn with fewer inputs needed.
The best programs begin with a soil test, which will give you enough information to customize a plan that meets the needs of your lawns soil. Soil amendments are used to maintain the appropriate nutrient levels and correct PH balance in the soil such as applying limestone.
Cool-season turfgrass requires more inputs than nature can provide, which is why you need to supplement with organic slow release fertilizers.
In some cases, you may need to apply a granular or a liquid to the lawn, depending on the needs of the soil and the time of season. Organic fertilizers break down with active soil biology, it is not dependent on water like a conventional fertilizer program.
Cultural practices are extremely important to an organic program, this is a major part of the systems approach. Read more about specifics here: Proper mowing and watering can make all the difference.
Overseeding is the process of putting seed into existing turf and is the most effective weed control tool in the organic turf manager’s toolbox.
There is a saying in organic turf care that the best time to seed your lawn is anytime there is a bare spot. Grass seeds require good seed-to-soil contact to germinate. Spreading seed over the top of an existing lawn results in poor germination because the seed must be worked down into the soil to protect it from the elements. This can be done through slice-seeding or in conjunction with aeration and topdressing.
The best way to sustain a healthy lawn is to develop a deep root system. Soil can become compacted due to foot traffic, over-watering, and just general conditions throughout the season. By coring soil plugs out of the lawn, you allow air, water, and nutrients deeper in the soil. This will help to alleviate compaction and build soil health by encouraging a deep root system.
Our biggest enemy in the pursuit of a healthy organic lawn (in full sun) is crabgrass. It shows up in summer almost out of the blue when the weather is hot and dry. To control the problem it is better to be proactive.
Seeding in spring/fall to create turf density, maintaining a higher mow height during growing months to shade soil surfaces and proper watering all help to reduce stress to the established lawn. Since crabgrass seed needs sunlight, keep the length of grass as high as possible to shade the soil surface.
Crabgrass is an annual weed, so it will begin to die off at the end of the summer and that is the best time to replace the voided areas with high-quality grass seed.
Often, excess weeds are a symptom of poor soil, a flag that lets you know a pH adjustment is needed (NOFA)
TOP DRESSING WITH COMPOST
One of the most beneficial things you can do for your lawn is to top dress with compost. This is especially helpful when transitioning a lawn from a conventional program.
This helps to enhance the soil quality in many ways:
- Increase organic matter
- Add beneficial organisms/increase microbial activity
- Aid in water retention at the roots
- Alleviate compaction in the soil
- Provide a seedbed for fast germination when overseeding
The keys to a green, sustainable and natural lawn may seem daunting, but in reality, once the lawn is treated with the above steps and is healthy the maintenance is minimal. Partnering with a lawn care expert like Pure Solutions will make the process easy and enjoyable. Our trained and certified team is focused on all-natural, organic lawns. We know how each lawn has its unique needs and we have the experience and over a decade of results in delivering beautiful all-natural lawns that will make your property the envy of the neighborhood.
Contact us today to get a fast and easy quote for our organic lawn care services!