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DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – Organic Lawn Care Tips

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

SO MANY HOMEOWNERS WANT TO STOP USING SO MANY CHEMICALS AROUND THE HOUSE

Are you thinking of becoming more environmentally friendly when it comes to lawn care this fall? Good thinking!

The time has come for all of us to think about what we are doing to our environment when it comes to the use and abuse of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that we apply to our lawns each year. I fully understand that the transition of applying organic practices to the lawn care and seeing the benefits does not occur overnight. But, we need to start and why not start this fall with the use of organic products.

Here are some statistics provided by the U.S. National Wildlife Federation:

  1. 30% of the water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns.
  2. The average suburban lawn received 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
  3. Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually.

Sadly, too much of these pesticides and fertilizers are washing into our water systems and polluting our waters and the Chesapeake Bay.

The first step of converting to organic practices with lawn care is creating a healthy lawn soil. Without healthy soil, grass has a harder time growing and staying healthy. We need to start adding organic matter to the lawn. A healthy lawn attracts beneficial insects such as earthworms. Earthworms are our natural aerators of the soil and at the same time, they help fertilize the soil.

With my blog last week, I talked about the need for a soil test. Our FARMER’S SOIL ANALYSIS KIT can help make recommended organic choices of products depending on the results of the soil test.

The second step of converting to organic practices with lawn care is to stop using all synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals that harm living organisms.

Now is the time to apply the first application of an organic lawn starter food. We carry the ESPOMA LAWN STARTER. Espoma Lawn Starter is a 3-6-3 lawn food with proprietary Bio-Tone microbes that is ideal for rejuvenating lawns this fall. It is made from natural and organic plant food ingredients. It breaks down gradually to provide a safe, long-lasting food reservoir throughout the growing season.

HERE IS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO TO GET STARTED

  • Improve the soil in the lawn.
  • Be sure to use good, quality grass seed.
  • Mow often so as to cut no more than 1/3 of the grass blades.
  • Let the grass clippings lay on the lawn. Grass clippings are a good source of nitrogen.
  • Water deeply but not too often. If you watered deeply you should be able to go 5 to 7 days before needing to water again.
  • Check your soil pH annually.
  • Keep the turf healthy and thick. Weeds will grow where the grass has become thin or bare.

Bottom line…you need to start the transformation at some point. Why not start now. Come see us and we will help you get started.

To read more from Doug, visit our blog

6 thoughts on “DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – Organic Lawn Care Tips

  1. Any way to get rid of Bermuda Grass which seems to have taken over without using harsh chemicals. Or a recommendation for something .
    Thank you

  2. Cathy,
    Bottom line, I am not aware of any product to get rid of Bermuda grass that isn’t considered a harsh chemical. Bermuda grass is referred to as wire grass when it is classified as a weed, which is the case with your lawn. You may want to consult a lawn care company, such as Virginia Lawns, as to what they can provide for you. From a personal experience I resorted to using Round Up on my lawn which killed everything in the lawn and I started over. It worked for me. Doug

  3. I am a VIP member (!) and missing u guys so how r u?

    Do you have any large white azalea plants at this time?
    Do you have any larger whte crysanthemums?
    Do you have any of the above at a discount in Arlington/Falls Church?
    Thanks for a reply, Sharon Mihnovets
    It would be great if you could leave me a msg at 703 684-7707

  4. Sharon,
    Thank you for your message. I hope all is well with you. We do have some 3 gallon size white azaleas at this time. Do you have a particular variety that you are interested in? Let me know with another message. As for mums… we do have a few white mums on hand. BUT – this may be the last week for us to receive fresh mums. It is getting a little late now that it is mid-October. Doug

  5. Hi there,
    I manually pulled out all the Bermuda grass in the area hopefully completely to the roots. I now want to plant grass seed. I added some Miracle grow all purpose garden soil and lawn soil. Mixed it all up. Are those products organic? Thanks lots, Chantal

  6. Chantal,
    Good Morning. Your question is if the Miracle Gro garden soil and lawn soil is organic. To be honest I am not sure because we do not sell Miracle Gro products. It should state on the bag if it is organic. Even if it doesn’t – Miracle Gro is a good product and you did a good thing in adding these products to your lawn. Take advantage of this rain Friday, get your grass seed down. We are staying warm for the next seven days which will help with the germination of the grass seed. Doug

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