There are many benefits to having an organic lawn and using organic lawn care rather than a conventional one.
Why is Sustainable & Organic Lawn Care Important?
Organic lawns are healthier for your family and pets, not contributing to global climate change, saving money on utility bills, supporting local businesses or farms that carry organic products that can be used in the home landscape, creating wildlife habitat, and supporting organic farming practices.
They also have stronger grass roots and organic lawn care is cheaper than conventional. Here we dive into everything you need to know about organic lawn care.
Can you have a nice lawn without chemicals?
A lawn cared for with organic lawn care methods that has soil organisms, earthworms, microorganisms, and insects is a healthy lawn.
When you have these in your soil it makes the soil porous so when there are heavy rains, water can drain through it. It will also help with holding nutrients in the soil when they are not leaching down into the water table. The roots of your grass will then grow deeper and stronger which means a healthier lawn that can tolerate drought conditions better.
A conventional lawn is a lot different because it does not have good drainage, nutrient holding capacity, or root depth. In order to establish this type of lawn from seed, you have to apply pre-emergent herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides. This means you are putting chemicals on your lawn that will eventually get into the water table or can easily be washed into local creeks if it rains a lot.
Organic Lawn Care Costs More?
Conventional lawn care costs an average of $60/month where organic lawn care can be anywhere from $25-$45/month. The lower end of that price range is for people that are willing to do most of the work themselves, but hiring a professional for your organic lawn care still costs less than conventional lawn care.
What Should Be Included in Organic Lawn Care?
Your organic lawn care provider should be using fertilizers and pesticides that have ingredients that you recognize and aren’t harmful to your family or pets. Organic lawn care utilizes organic lawn fertilizers, organic grass seed, and more to create not only deep strong grass roots but healthy soil, good soil quality, and proper soil structure beyond the soil surface.
Want to learn more? Here’s our complete guide on chemical free lawn care!
What are some Toxic Products Found in Conventional Lawn Care That Organic Lawn Care Avoids?
Conventional pesticide sprays have been linked to numerous health problems including respiratory issues, cancer, reproductive problems, Parkinson’s disease, autism, allergies, ADHD, and hormonal imbalances (source).
Products found in conventional pesticides include herbicides that kill plants, insecticides that kill insects, and fungicides that kill fungus. These products are often toxic to the environment and cause damage such as killing non-target species (e.g., bees), groundwater contamination & soil compaction.
The 5 Best Practices for a Sustainable & Organic Lawn Care Routine
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has outlined the correct ways of transitioning an existing lawn to be organic through organic lawn care practices, so it is full of life and nutrients.
5 Best Practices for an Organic Lawn Care Routine:
- Pre-Emergence Weed Control
- Pre- & Post-Emergence Herbicide Application
- Mowing at Appropriate Height
- Use of Organic Soil Amendments & Compost
1. Pre-Emergence Weed Control
Nitrogen fertilizers encourage weed growth so, in organic lawn care, it’s important to use a pre-emergent herbicide before weeds appear. Make sure you ensure the fertilizer you choose is OMRI Certified to be organic. Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied up to 2 weeks prior to weed growth. Be sure to apply the pre-emergent at the correct rate for your turf type (e.g., 1 lb./ 1000 sq. ft for bluegrass).
2. Pre & Post-Emergence Herbicide Application
Broadleaf weeds are difficult to control organically, so using both pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides is needed. Generally, you should apply weed control products on a 7 to 10-day schedule throughout the growing season to your organic lawn.
3. Mowing at Appropriate Height
Mow grass so your grass blades height is approximately 2″. This encourages grass roots growth for drought resistance and helps maintain a healthy lawn. Organic lawns are highly susceptible to being overcut. Be careful to not cut too short and always leave the grass clippings to be a natural organic component in your soil.
This will work for both cool season grasses and others. Make sure grass blades remain healthy and strong with a consistent mowing schedule.
4. Fertilization Routine
Use slow-release organic fertilizers (e.g., fish-bone meal, blood meal or poultry manure). Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers as they will promote weed growth and damage turf quality. Organic fertilizer will encourage strong root systems and growth which helps avoid damage from lawn pests naturally.
Check out our list of the best organic fertilizers here.
5. Use of Organic Soil Amendments & Compost
To maintain soil health, it’s important to add high-quality organic compost and other organic soil amendments for porosity & drainage. Using high-quality organically composted materials in the top 6 inches of the lawn is best. Learning how to mulch properly around your landscaping is also important for soil health and the health of your plants.
Why You Should Choose a Natural Pesticide or Fertilizer for Your Lawncare Next Time
When you’re buying pesticides or fertilizers, look for organic ingredients on the label. Also, make sure that the product does not include synthetic or chemical ingredients.
Products that contain these ingredients may be harmful to people and pets and can pollute waterways.
You Can Have a Beautiful Lawn Using Organic Lawn Care and Sustainable Landscaping Practices
Organic lawn care is the way of the future. It’s not only better for your own health, but also saves money on utility bills and supports local businesses or farms that carry organic products that can be used in the home landscape.
Have you tried organic lawn care? Please share your experiences below. Your Comments are Welcome!
Interested in more ways to practice sustainability landscaping? Click here for more.