Care and Maintenance Tips for Your Organic Lawn
The lawns in our Utah yards are nature’s carpets, giving lush, green beauty to our landscapes. Lawns also provide us with our very own natural air maintenance device. It not only keeps our surroundings cool, especially during the summer heat, lawns also condition the air by emitting oxygen while extracting the carbon dioxide in our immediate environment. Lawns are also an effective way to prevent erosion.
However, the rampant use of fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides in our lawns also has its own toxic effects on the environment. One way to minimize the harm is by having a lawn that is not as water or fertilizer-addicted, through organic lawn growing and maintaining strategies.
Here are some of the ways Utah landscaping companies grow and maintain lawns the organic way:
– Select the grass that best suits your environment. Various grasses will thrive depending on the climate conditions, as well as varying amounts of water, foot traffic and sunlight or shade. Rather than choosing a kind of grass just for its appearance, also factor in whether that grass is known to naturally thrive in your area. Also, consider the lay of the land when choosing your grass type. For instance, when the landscape features a steep slope, rather than opting for grass, it is more advisable to choose Utah shrubs, perennials and flowers.
– Develop your soil. The quality of the soil will be a major factor in the health and growth of your lawn. You can check this by getting a piece of your lawn using a trowel. Dig and get a portion of the sod 4 inches from the surface. Sod that is soft and packed with grass blades is healthy while sod that is dry and filled with dead stems and roots indicate an unhealthy soil. Also, if your soil is accustomed to the use of chemical, the root system tends to be quite shallow because the lawn receives its nutrients readily. You should also conduct a pH test for your soil.
- Aerate. To “cure” your soil, aerate it to get rid of compacted decayed matter and to introduce air into the soil. Aeration also makes it easier for nutrients and water to go down deeper.
- Regulate the pH levels of the soil. Ideally, the soil should have a pH of 6.5 to 70. To regulate this, you may need to apply sulfur (to increase acidity levels) or lime (to make the pH more neutral).
- Apply compost. Apply about a quarter to half an inch of compost on the lawn to introduce the presence of “healthy” and beneficial bacteria, fungi and algae. Rake the compost evenly in over the lawn. Compost is available in nurseries, just check whether these are comprised mainly of decomposed organic plant material. You can also make compost tea, which you can spray or sprinkle on the lawn on a monthly basis. The best times to top dress with compost is during the spring time and autumn.
– Use organic fertilizers. Growing your lawn the organic way does not mean you have to say goodbye to fertilizers forever. You need to simply switch to the organic alternative.
– Get rid of weeds. The challenge that comes with growing and maintaining an organic lawn is the presence of weeds. You will need to be vigilant, especially during the first couple of years while your grass is growing stronger and more able to crowd out the weeds and prevent their growth. You can make use of organic weed killers rather than pesticides.
– Water the lawn regularly and in proper amounts. The good news is that if you made the correct choice of grass type, you don’t need water as much. A well-maintained organic lawn will require less water since the grass roots go deeper into the ground. Thus, water infrequently, but deeply (about an inch of water every week) while the lawn is on its growth stage. Water only when the grass starts to curl. To further minimize the amount of water needed, water during the early morning, before the sun is up so that the lawn can absorb the water. This also allows the grass to be dry come night time and thus prevent fungal problems.
– Mow high. This depends on the type of grass selected. Generally, however, you should mow at 2 and a half to 3 inches tall. This ensures that the soil is nice and moist, making it conducive for the growth of the grass and minimizing the amount of water needed. The taller grass also prevents the germination of weed seeds.