Five super-easy ideas to keep a lawn healthy, lush, green, and safe for kids and pets!
A green carpet of lawn adds beauty & functionality to a landscape. It can also wreak havoc on both the environment and the homeowner’s wallet.
Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides only appear to help lawns thrive. In reality, they degrade the soil, pollute the water, and pose serious health risks to children, pets, birds and wildlife.
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Read on for five easy & inexpensive natural lawn treatments and solutions to common lawn problems.
Prevent Weeds Before They Sprout…with Corn!
Corn gluten meal is an effective and safe pre-emergent weed inhibitor; it’s effective with crab grass if it’s applied early in the season before the crab grass takes hold.
Corn gluten meal is also an excellent organic fertilizer, high in naturally-occurring nitrogen so it releases into the lawn slowly.
What is Corn Gluten Meal?
Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of the production of corn starch and corn syrup.
It comes in granular or pellet form in 20- to 40-lb. bags, and is available from garden centers and mail order companies.
Sprinkle On Some Good Quality Grass Seed Every Year
A lawn should be overseeded in the spring when the soil temperature reaches about 60 degrees F, or in mid-August to mid-September when the soil is warm and the evenings are cool.
This helps to produce a thick, healthy lawn that’s resistant to weeds, disease, insect damage and drought.
How to Overseed a Lawn
Mow the lawn, remove any dead grass, leaves, sticks and other debris, and loosen up the soil with a rake so the seeds have a place to nestle in. Sprinkle seed, then cover with a fine layer of good quality top soil or fine compost.
Which Variety of Grass is Best?
Homeowners have plenty of choices when it comes to grass seed; there’s grass designed for sun, and grass more suited to shade. Similarly, there are varieties that do better in hot climate zones, and those that thrive in cooler, more temperate climates.
It’s important to choose grass seed that’s right for the site, location, needs and maintenance requirements, to ensure that it thrives without harmful chemicals.
Sharpen the Mower Blades
A sharp mower blade clips the grass neatly; a dull blade tears the grass and leaves a rough, uneven edge, stressing the lawn and making it more vulnerable to disease.
Sharp blades on the lawnmower also extend the life of the mower and even reduce fuel consumption in gas mowers by as much as 22%. Blades should be sharpened after every eight hours of mowing, or once a month.
Shower the Lawn with Superfood
Liquid seaweed (also called kelp) is an inexpensive and all-natural fertilizer for lawns. It contains a broad array of microorganisms and nutrients to enhance the development and vigor of the lawn.
These organisms also enrich the soil and create an optimum environment for earthworms and other beneficial insects.
Seaweed emulsion is widely available at home and garden centers. To use it on the lawn, dilute it according to the package directions and spray it on the grass at approximately one pint per 1000 sq. ft. of lawn; backpack sprayers make the job relatively quick and easy.
Apply liquid seaweed in the early spring, when grass begins to “wake up,” when the summer heat sets in and grass starts to brown, and in August, to prepare the grass for the winter.
Rid the Lawn of Dandelions Without Ecohazardous Chemicals
Dandelions in the lawn usually mean there are soil problems like high acidity, low calcium, or high potassium. A soil test will indicate what’s out of balance.
To kill the dandelions in the meantime, spray them with undiluted white vinegar, being careful to only spray the weed so the nearby grass isn’t damaged. A dandelion weeder can also be used to dig them out, making sure to get the entire root.
Going organic and creating a healthy, Earth-friendly lawn is a marathon, not a sprint. But it’s well worth the initial effort; the time and money saved in the long run will be significant.
For more ideas on getting a beautiful organic lawn, check out Get an Organic Green Lawn.