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The first thing you should know about chemical free lawn care, is that it doesn’t come with any guarantees. You can use all the best, eco-friendly products and treat your lawn like a living organism, but if you don’t feed it properly or water it enough, there will be no improvement in growth.
But don’t worry; this article will help!
What is Chemical Free Lawn Care & Why is it a Better Alternative?
Organic lawn care is basically a movement that started against pesticides and other chemicals which are used to fertilize the soil. They contain harsh, toxic chemicals that kill living beings from molds and viruses all the way to microscopic bacteria.
What’s even worse, these harmful elements quickly leach into our water supply and cause irreparable damage to the environment.
In order to avoid all of this, many people have turned to organic methods in hopes for a clean, chemical free yard that has a healthy lawn and is well taken care of and safe for kids and pets. Besides trying to reduce pollution and protect the environment, going green can also save you a lot of money in the long run.
The Basics of Organic Lawn Care
Before you can get started on your journey, there are some basic things that you will need to learn about organic soil management. If you’re curious about the different aspects of it, keep reading.
What is Your Lawn Made Of?
Your lawn is made of two types of components: turf grass and underground roots. While both of these are alive, they require different nutrients in order to stay healthy and strong.
Turf grass is the living surface of your lawn that you see when you look down. It’s made up out of a variety of species and each one requires a unique type of care to keep it in optimal health. On the other hand, the roots are made of organic compounds and they hold your lawn together. They create a complex structure filled with microscopic tunnels and chambers that allow the roots to absorb both nutrients and water from the soil.
While chemical/synthetic fertilizers only nourish the turf grass, organic fertilizers will feed both components equally. This is why it’s always recommended to go with an organic fertilizer instead of a conventional one.
By fertilizing the soil with natural elements, like compost and manure, and using organic grass seed you help your roots grow strong and deep which results in less weed growth. Also, turf grass has a much easier time drinking up water because there are no chemicals that block the passage way. You’ll have a lot less dead grass as well because the lawn will become a living organism again with healthy soil.
It’s a good idea to run a soil test on your existing lawn to see what you’re working with and what types of nutrients you’ll need to add in. Things like bone meal and other nutrients can add in what your soil is lacking.
Organic Lawn Fertilizers
There are two types of organic fertilizer that you can use in your lawn: compost and manure.
Compost is a stable form of organic matter that you can create for yourself or purchase from local farms. It’s basically an excellent soil conditioner because it will add all kinds of nutrients to your lawn. It usually contains grass clippings and other organic materials that help organic lawns thrive. This can also be made into compost tea which contains beneficial organisms and organic matter which convetional fertilizers and chemical herbicides do not.
On the other hand, manure is made of decomposed animal excrements that you can get from stables or farms for free. You’ll only want to use manure from animals who are herbivores. This organic matter will also contain grass clippings, hay leavings, and beneficial organisms from the biome of the animal. It’s like pre-steeped compost tea with extra benefits. This will lead to a healthier lawn, healthy turf, and encourage strong grass roots and root growth.
When looking for environmentally friendly fertilizer find one that’s rich in nitrogen and phosphorous because these are the two key elements that your soil is lacking. Luckily, most compost fertilizers will have them both which makes them a very cost effective solution. Watch out for weed seeds in your compost though as they can cause headaches later.
Check out our list of some of the best organic fertilizers here.
Organic Lawn Weed Control
A lot of people think that going with chemical weed control is the only way to keep your lawn free from weeds and that organic ways are not as efficient. However, there are some natural solutions out there which you can use for organic weed control, like vinegar and plant-based oil sprays.
These two are very easy to make at home, but it’s important to keep in mind that you will need to apply them regularly. The only problem with using vinegar is the fact that weeds will soon build up immunity if you use it too often.
On the other hand, plant-based oil sprays will probably be much more effective in the long run, but they are usually not as easy to use. These solutions can also have negative effects on your turf grass if you don’t apply them carefully.
Organic Lawn Diseases and Insects
Chemical pesticides control bugs by poisoning them which means that these harmful elements will also get inside your body when you touch them.
If you want to protect your family and pets, it’s best to try organic ways of pest control like using mothballs, diatomaceous earth (food grade), or garlic spray. These solutions are safe enough for everyone in the house, but they can be pretty ineffective unless you use them regularly.
The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that most organic pest control solutions are very smelly, so they’re not the best solution for your regimen.
Tips for Transitioning Your Yard from Chemicals to Non-Chemical Methods of Weed Control
So, all of that is well and good but what if you have been using chemicals on your lawn up until now? How do you transition from chemical to chemical free practices?
The best way is to slowly introduce the new, non-chemical treatments. For example, if you have been using a weed killer from a store for your lawn, start by mixing vinegar with water and spraying the weeds instead of buying a chemical spray bottle. This will allow you to get used to organic means of weed control as well as eliminate some of the risk associated with it.
You can also choose to apply organic fertilizers and see how your lawn responds. Once you’ve noticed a positive change, switch to natural insect and disease control as well and let your lawn get used to them gradually.
The Dos and Don’ts of Organic Lawn Maintenance
So, now that we’ve covered the main advantages and disadvantages of organic lawn care and what you can do to transition from chemicals to organic treatments, let’s talk about dos and don’ts.
The first thing that you should do is stop using weed killers as soon as possible. This might be a tough decision because weed killers are one of the most popular lawn care products out there. However, if you want to go organic, this is a no-brainer.
Secondly, you should start watering your lawn regularly and not depend on chemicals to do it for you. In order for your grass to grow properly and have a good root system, it needs water.
You should also find an alternative to pesticides, which is good for your lawn as well as the environment.
Another thing that you might want to do is invest in sod instead of seed. Sod will help you grow a new grass patch much faster than seeds.
Even though organic means might seem expensive at first, they are a lot cheaper in the long run and you can easily save a bunch by using them.
You should also invest in a good lawn mower if you want to go organic because it will help you get rid of dead or dying grass which is inevitable when getting rid of chemicals from your yard.
In addition to that, don’t try to fertilize too much because this will damage your lawn and make it more susceptible to diseases.
The Best Tools for Maintaining a Chemical-Free Lawn or Garden – A Quick Buyer’s Guide
This section contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by clicking on these links we earn a small commission to help keep the blog running.
Now that you’re familiar with organic lawn care and what it entails, let’s talk about the tools that you need in order to successfully maintain a chemical-free garden or yard.
If you have been using pesticides on your lawn for years, it might be time to move on.
This is why we recommend this 2 gallon 180 psi garden sprayer for you. It’s a very affordable product that does what it says and is the perfect tool to transition from chemicals to organic means of weed control.
The next thing that you will need is a lawn aerator, also known as a dethatcher, which helps your grass breathe and grow healthier roots.
This one by Greenworks is a very reliable product that does the job well. It’s far from fancy but it gets the job done and you can’t beat its price.
The next tool that you will need is a good electric lawn mower, such as this one by SunJoe.
It has great blades and will help you cut your grass without damaging it.
Once your lawn is nice and green, you will need a good way to water it properly and a sprinkler is the best option for that.
This one by Melnor is very easy to use and can cover up to 4400 square feet of space.
In addition to that, it comes with 5 different spray patterns to choose from.
Now that you know what tools you will need, make sure to use them properly and take your time transitioning to organic lawn care.
Chemical Free, Organic Lawn Care is the Lawn Care of the Future
As you can see, going organic is a lot easier than you might think and while there are some risks associated with going against the grain, they are not as bad as you would initially expect them to be. So get rid of your chemical-based lawn care products and start using organic ones.
If you’re new to this, it might take some time for your grass to get used to them but in the end, it will be well worth it.
Interested in other ways to make your organic lawn thrive? Check out this article here.