Now that the grass is finally greener on your side of the fence, how can you keep it looking great and maintain it without the use of chemicals? It’s easy to have and maintain a green lawn without chemicals, plus it’s better for the environment when you use organic methods of feeding and pest control. Use these tips and you can have the healthiest chemical free lawn.
Start with a yearly soil test to determine what, if any, amendments your lawn may need. Use an inexpensive DIY soil test kit from a local garden supply center to discover what your lawn may need this year. You can take a tablespoon of soil from at least 5 different locations in your lawn, place in a zip-top bag and take it to your local County Extension Office for testing.
If you know what your soil is lacking you’ll be able to feed it exactly what it needs so it can nourish the lawn all growing season. A 1-2 inch layer of compost will almost always be recommended to help prevent soil compaction and feed the lawn.
Always feed the lawn after the first mowing of spring and again in 6 weeks. Use organic compost or cow manure tea to provide chemical free food for your lawn. To make the organic tea, place a garden trowel full of compost or manure in piece of cloth and tie the loose ends together. Place the ‘tea bag’ in a 5 gallon bucket of water and set the bucket in the sun for a week to steep. Remove the tea bag, pour the organic fertilizer in a hose-end sprayer and water your lawn with it.
Thatch is a tight mat of dry grass clippings that form on the soil surface and smothers the grass. A layer of thatch will impede the ability of the soil to absorb oxygen, food or water and the layer of thatch will eventually kill your lawn. To prevent thatch buildup, rake grass clippings after mowing or use a mulch blade.
Aerating the lawn loosens the soil so oxygen and nutrients can reach the grass roots. A lawn aerator can be purchased or rented and will help refresh your lawn for summer, but an easy method of aeration is to always wear a pair of golf shoes when walking on the lawn. The cleats poke holes into the soil with every step and help keep it aerated.
Organic Pest Control
Neem oil, which is an organic vegetable oil derived from the fruit of the neem tree, can be used to kill most any lawn pest without harming the environment.