Increasing concern about the environment and factors that contribute to our health have led to more interest in organic lawn care and maintenance practices. Most definitions define organic as of or relating to animal or plant constituents or products having a carbon basis, which leaves room for synthetic parts as well. A more common definition would imply that something organic is made up of natural occurring materials. Organic lawn care’s primary focus is on preserving the biotic character of the soil, and then maintaining that organic soil so as to minimize the need for consistent future treatments, although those treatments can be natural and organic as well. Preserving the natural soil will provide nutrients, high amounts of microorganisms, and good water retention.
Maintaining healthy, fertile soil is an essential beginning step to taking care of your lawn. Performing a soil test is a great way to determine which nutrients need to be added to your soil. If nitrogen is needed, organic fertilizers contain a variety of nitrogen sources that are released slowly over time by microorganisms through natural activity of the soil. This mainly occurs during warmer months. Conventional, non-organic fertilizers are able to release nitrogen immediately and are more cost effective. With organic fertilizers having a slower green-up time and higher cost, conventional fertilizers end up being the most common choice. Various manures and composts also provide other vital nutrients, such as phosphate and potassium.
Choosing a lawn variety that is disease-resistant is another excellent way to attempt to prevent lawn issues. There are several options that have disease-resistant qualities that will lower your chances of lawn damage due to pests, thus avoiding many maintenance needs. When trying to maintain an organic lawn and yard, there are several practices that promote natural, preventative pest control. Proper plant selection, extra care during establishment periods, correct mowing height, good drainage, proper soil pH, adequate air circulation, optimal watering times, as well as some composts and fertilizers that have proven to help suppress some diseases. Parasites in addition to organic sprays and botanical insecticides will also aid in pest management.
While it may take more time and knowledge, organic lawn and garden care is possible for those looking to take a more natural approach.