Is your lawn a black hole of gardening, endlessly sucking in your time, energy and money ? You fertilize, mow, water, mow, spread pesticides, mow, and mow some more ? Well, it doesn't have to be that way.
There are 4,basic elements to organic lawn maintenance; fertilization, liming, mowing and irrigation. Done properly, these all work together to produce a dense, green turf with few problems such as pests or thatch. Done improperly, they can work at cross purposes, making trouble for you and your lawn. Let's look at each of these individually and see how they affect the quality of our lawns.
Proper organic fertilization takes time, but can reduces mowing chores as well as the need to use pesticides and herbicides, while making for a prettier and healthier lawn. The object of fertilizing is to encourage vigorous root growth without stimulating too much leaf growth. Vigorous root growth means a healthy organic lawn which resists drought, pests and diseases, while excessive leaf growth just means mowing.
Before you start fertilizing, find out how fertile your lawn already is. Take a soil sample, and bring it to Spring Meadow, we'll test it and tell you the proper organic fertilizer to use on your lawn. This way you will get the best results, and save money by note putting down more than your lawn needs. The results will indicate what analysis organic fertilizer is best for your conditions and how much to apply, probably some where in the range of 3 to 5 pounds actual nitrogen (N) per thousand square feet of lawn per year.
For cool-season grasses, split the desired amount of organic fertilizers over 2 monthly fall fertilizations, starting in September and ending in Oct.
Contrary to popular belief, not all lawns need lime every year. Lime is only necessary when the pH of your soil (a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity drops to an undesirable level. A soil pH in the range of 7.0 to 7.5 favors most varieties of turf grasses.
Soil testing is the only way to know your soil pH. Since you have already tested your soil for fertility, all you need do is check those result, which will include soil pH. Our soil test results also specify how much lime to apply Spread lime in the fall of the year, it takes about 2 months to change the pH. If more than 50 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet is required, split the amount into separate applications applied several months apart.
It doesn't hurt a lawn to go brown in midsummer. All this means is that t! grasses are .dormant, waiting for fall rains. If you must have a lush green turf throughout the summer, you will probably have to water. Should you choose to do so, remember these rules. Water deeply and water regularly.
Deep watering, enough to wet 6 inches down in the soil, encourages roots to grow downwards, instead of staying near the surface. Surface-rooted plants require more frequent watering This results in constantly moist surface which encourages weeds to germinate, and disease to spread. Deep roots stay cooler, and are less likely to go dormant in summer's heat. Most lawns require about one inch of water per week to continue growing.
Regular watering keeps the lawn from fluctuating between periods of dormancy and growth several times per season, which can weaken the turf. If you forget to water your lawn one week and it turns brown, let it stay that way until it naturally comes out of dormancy with the return of regular rains. It may not look pretty, but the lawn will be healthier than if you continued to water it sporadically.
Weeds are another possible problem that may sprout up. Annual weed grasses such as crabgrass can be crowded out of your lawn by healthy grass mowed high, and fertilized in the fall with a 3-6-3 organic fertilizer.
I am always amazed at the intertwining of all aspects of organic lawn care. Mowing heights affects the health of the grass roots, as does the timing of fertilization, which can affect how much mowing is necessary, and so on. A lawn is a complex community of plants, insects and microorganisms, and the more we understand it the easier it is to successfully maintain it. Sure, it is still work, but at least we don't have to work against ourselves with Toxic Chemicals. And even mowing is almost pleasant when the lawn is healthy and green.