Organic lawn maintenance is a great way to grow and support a healthy, beautiful lawn. Many people are concerned about harsh chemicals coating their yards, which could end up compromising the inherent strength of the grass and root systems, and could also potentially pose a threat to children and pets who frequent the area. Likewise, a number of people are unsatisfied with companies or products they have subjected their lawns to, and would rather take control of maintenance themselves. These people are looking for alternative, more natural ways to acquire an attractive yard in a do-it-yourself fashion.
The basic foundation of organic lawn maintenance is this: Healthy lawns can, for the most part, take care of themselves. Pests, weeds and lackluster appearance can all be symptoms of poor lawn maintenance— and the cure for these problems lies in the thoughtful actions of the property owner.
Alternatives to Pesticides
Pesticides, unless specifically designed and labeled as organic or otherwise safe solutions, generally all have a level of toxicity that homeowners need to be aware of. Exposing small children to these chemicals can be a particular kind of danger, as the younger a child is, the more vulnerable their immune system. Side effects from pesticides can negatively affect many different aspects of a child’s health, as well as the health of pets and wildlife that spend time on treated lawns.
When it comes to straying away from these products, there are a number of alternative routes to consider:
- Cedar dust, when applied to a lawn, can keep away a few different pests like fleas, mites and chiggers. The odor of the cedar is what these insects can’t stand, and the application of the cedar dust will dissuade these pests from calling your lawn home.
- Pyrethroids are organic compounds that are essentially harmless to humans and act as an effective insect repellant. Keep in mind that, when using pyrethroids, you will want to focus on a specific area or mound, as it could also harm insects that do not pose a threat to your lawn.
- Diatomeous earth is a substance that comes in the form of a powder and, when ingested by insects, lacerates their exoskeletons and dehydrates their bodies. Much like pyrethroids, you’ll want to scatter this powder over particular areas. It is safe, and especially effective, when spread over plants ad growing fruits/vegetables to keep insects from feeding on them.
Alternatives to Weed Control
Common weeds are no match for a healthy lawn, and healthy grass grows from healthy soil. When you treat your turf with chemical-rich weed killers, it soaks into the soil and inhibits its natural defensive qualities. For instance, once soil is saturated in these products, it can no longer absorb nutrients efficiently. After it has been weakened, your lawn becomes easy prey to weeds and pests. If you nurture your lawn organically, the grass will be strong enough to naturally out-compete any weeds that might surface.
- Testing your soil is the beginning to any treatment plan. This will help you to see what your lawn’s exact needs are. You can do this by purchasing a soil testing kit or hiring lawncare professionals to test your soil for you. It will reveal to you the PH, density, and nutritional status of your landscape’s soil.
After you have gotten this essential information, you should then begin treating your lawn like you would treat your own child; by feeding it the nutrients and minerals it needs.
- Aeration is a process that is completely necessary for a healthy and organic lawn; it allows the soil to breathe and absorb carbon dioxide and other essential nutrients. This happens because aeration is essentially when holes are poked into your lawn in order to loosen compacted soil, making root systems easily penetrated by water and other beneficial substances.
- Organic mineral nutrients can be added afterward to enhance the soil’s health. Corn gluten meal is also noted for positive effects on lawn health- however, it can inhibit seed germination, so knowing when to do this is important.
Do not underestimate the strength of nature! By getting to know your lawn, you can help it be its own best defense against pests and weeds— without the use of harmful chemicals.