Is organic lawn care right for you? It’s a great question. Everybody wants to do the best they can for the environment. But we also want our lawn to look great. Is it possible to do both?
Yes — as long as you’re patient. There are some key differences in performance between a traditional, synthetic lawn care plan and an organic plan. Let’s take a look at organic lawn care, and what you need to know.
What Are The Benefits Of Organic Lawn Care?
Organic lawn care is the practice of using all natural methods to help promote and encourage the health of your turf. Organic fertilizer might consist of dehydrated manure, dried blood, bone meal and kelp which are available in granular form instead of synthetic fertilizers from a manufacturing plant. Granular organic fertilizer has no smell compared to using a natural base dehydrated manure, dried blood, bone meal or kelp.
Proponents of organic lawn care can rattle off a long list of its advantages:
Slowly Feeds Turf
Organic lawn care treatments release nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous very slowly and the grass roots absorb them slowly and in small doses. So your turf gets a slow, steady supply of the nutrients that foster good, healthy growth. While chemicals can burn turf if applied incorrectly, organic fertilizers don’t.
Water And Nutrient Retention
It improves the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients. If your property has sandy soil, this is a plus, as water drains quickly through sand after rain or a watering.
Improves Compacted Soil
It creates an environment that worms and tiny organisms like. Those critters break down the soil so it gets more porous and crumbly. That means there’s more air in it. This helps with compacted soil, which can be a big problem if your lawn gets a lot of foot traffic.
Reduced Groundwater Pollution
It doesn’t pollute groundwater. Chemical fertilizers can leach from the soil after a rainstorm and get into the groundwater. Because organic fertilizers release their nutrients slowly, this is less likely to happen.
How Does Organic Lawn Care Compare To Traditional Methods?
There are some differences between organic lawn care and the traditional methods, which use chemicals. Here’s what you can expect:
Patience, Patience, Patience
Organic lawn care doesn’t work as quickly as chemical fertilizers. So you have to be patient when waiting for your property to boast a lush green lawn. It could take three to four years to get the green lawn that a synthetic program delivers much faster.
You Have To Apply More
Because organic fertilizers are slow-acting, you have to apply them early and often in the growing season, so that plants get the nutrients they need at the right time.
Weeds May Continue To Be A Problem
There’s no highly effective organic weed killer. So even if your patience has paid off in the form of a beautiful green lawn, weeds may continue to appear throughout the season.
Expect To Pay More
A 5-step organic lawn care program costs about twice as much as a 5-step synthetic program. While one bag of synthetic fertilizer covers 12,000 square feet of lawn, a bag of organic fertilizer covers only 5,000 square feet. So it takes more product.
May Attract Animals
Animals are attracted to certain natural fertilizers. Dogs might want to roll in it or dig, especially if it contains blood meal or bone meal.
The Biggest Organic Lawn Care Myth
One of the biggest myths about organic lawn care is that there’s no way to avoid weeds. As we mentioned earlier, it’s true that there’s no highly effective organic weed killer. But that doesn’t mean there’s no way around weeds.
Organic weed control is holistic, which means recognizing that weeds are part of a larger system. You have to change the conditions that attract weeds, rather than zapping the weeds themselves.
Weeds are often a sign of poor soil. Have your soil tested — by a Neave Lawn Care professional — to see what nutrients it might need. Make sure it gets aerated to help with drainage and compaction. Overseed regularly. Weeds can’t sneak in as easily if your grass is thick and healthy.
What To Expect From Neave’s 5-Step Organic Lawn Care Plan
Neave Lawn Care’s 5-step organic lawn care plan looks about the same as the 5-step traditional plan. The difference is in the products used.
Step 1: includes application of slow-release organic fertilizer, plus iron, in April.
Step 2: Another fertilizer application, plus weed control, in mid-May.
Step 3: More fertilizer, plus oil spray to control insects, in early July.
Step 4: More fertilizer, plus weed control, in early September.
Step 5: Core aeration and overseeding, in October.
Beyond Organic Lawn Care
If you’re considering organic lawn care, chances are you’re interested in other ways your landscape can be earth friendly. The experts at Neave Group Outdoor Solutions are happy to help.
Maybe you’d like to add more native plants to your property. Neave Landscaping’s design team can help you plan your landscape using native plants — plants original to your area of the country — and birds, butterflies and hummingbirds will start flitting around your yard.
You won’t need to water as much. You might not even have to mow.
Pest management can be earth-friendly, too. Integrated pest management is the earth-friendly way to ward off pests without relying heavily on chemical pesticides. Fortunately there are a wide variety of organic, all-natural and reduced-risk treatments available, and Neave Lawn Care knows all about them.
Don’t forget trees. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that a well designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than eight years. Shade trees can reduce your home air conditioning costs by 15 to 50 percent. And a windbreak of trees planted to the north, west and east of a home can cut fuel consumption by an average of 40 percent, reducing heating costs by lowering the wind chill near your home.
Is Organic Lawn Care Right For You? Neave Lawn Care Can Help You Decide
Neave Lawn Care has specialists on staff who know the pros and cons of organic lawn care and can help you make the right choice for your property.
We’re proud to offer sustainable services that keep the environment in mind.
If you decide organic care isn’t for you, we offer top-notch traditional lawn care, too. Our dedicated crews work efficiently and on schedule throughout the year to keep your lawn looking great.
We want you to be happy with the environmentally friendly manner in which we treat your lawn, but we also want you to be pleased with how it looks. Before we start any of our services, we’ll happily explain what to expect when you choose to use our organic lawn care services.
Want to know more? The professionals at Neave Lawn Care would love to share their ideas.
Let us know that you’re considering organic lawn care and we’ll come prepared to show you exactly what we can do for you.
If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.