DIY Lawn Care
To grow a lush and healthy lawn, three primary things are needed. First, the perfect lawn must have the right foundation, being the soil. Without soil that is rich in nutrients, grass cannot grow, let alone thrive. Second, grass must be watered. The amount of water would depend on geographic location but also the type of grass and season. Third, grass needs to be fed a few times each year, which comes in the form of fertilizer. Without these three things combined, your yard would simply be average but because your goal is to achieve a dynamic lawn, we wanted to show you why using organic fertilizer is the “breakfast of champion lawns.”
Organic fertilizer offers several benefits to your lawn but the benefits go beyond your property line. Whether actively involved in environment-friendly causes or not, choosing organic materials over products laden with chemicals help save the planet. In addition to lawns, trees, flowerbeds, and gardens sprayed with harmful chemicals being negatively affected, those same toxic substances end up in the soil and water runoff, which means that animals and people are also exposed.
Before delving into information about using organic fertilizer too deeply, it is important to understand the language that goes along with an organic growing system. It is common for people to be confused because the word “organic” has several meanings. For instance, specific to organic lawn care, this word means that only organic products and materials are used, without introduction of any chemicals whatsoever. On the other hand, this word means a traditional lawn care plan would be followed while incorporating organic fertilizer to the maintenance regimen.
Regardless of the different terms used or the perceptions that people have, the most important term to know is “organic matter” or OM. Simply put, organic matter is defined as matter coming from an organism that was once alive, one capable of decay, or matter comprised of organic compounds. The truth is that organic lawn care is a system that takes time to learn so allow adequate time to become acquainted with the different used terms and associated concepts.
Your lawn should be fertilized several times during its growing season, usually at eight to ten week intervals. Fertilizing in the fall is critical in that your grass needs to be fed vital nutrients prior to becoming dormant for the winter. Usually, people fertilize in early fall but there are some major advantages to waiting until late fall. As an example, heat and drought tolerance is typically better when using organic matter to fertilize in late fall. As a result, the quality of your lawn would be better the following year. In addition, by fertilizing late, the grass would produce more root mass, as well as a deeper root system, which equates to a denser and healthier lawn.
When it comes to choosing organic fertilizer, you will discover two basic types:
Natural Organic Fertilizer – For this first type of lawn fertilizer, materials come from natural sources such as fish, plant, and animal byproducts, as well as manure. Although you may ultimately choose to make your own organic fertilizer, keep in mind that purchasing a commercial product has advantages. For one thing, commercial organic fertilizer is professionally granulated. Therefore, measuring is more accurate and spreading easier. With this, risk of overheating the grass and ultimately burning it is eliminated.
Synthetic Organic Fertilizer – The second option for fertilizing your organic lawn refers to the nitrogen source used, which is known as “urea.” To produce slow-release fertilizer, various chemicals are used to alter urea. Although chemicals are involved, urea can legally be classified as “organic” since part of its structure is carbon. With synthetic organic fertilizers, nitrogen is blended with natural organic fertilizers so in addition to slow release, nitrogen levels vary.
As you can see, choosing the wrong fertilizer is a common mistake. For the fertilizer industry, as long as some natural organic matter is blended in with chemicals, the product can be sold as “organic”. For this reason, it is important for you to take time and look carefully at the ingredients and labeling. With that, it would relatively easy to distinguish synthetic organic fertilizer from natural organic fertilizer. Although some people interested in organic lawn care use synthetic fertilizers, we suggest you stick with natural products and materials, which would produce the gorgeous lawn wanted but also support a healthy planet.