An organic lawn care program works with nature, not against it. This gives the lawn just what it needs to be green and healthy, and more resistant to diseases and pests. This program is also safer for children, pets, and our aquifers – therefore our drinking water. It also saves money in the long run, since it takes less fertilizer, pesticides, and fungicides overall.
When starting an organic program, fertilize your lawn two times a year: April and late September/early October. (A third fertilization, in June, could be added, if necessary). This program works best when other organic practices are followed that protect the microbial activity in the soil, and clippings are left on the lawn. (You will not see the hyper-fast green-up that occurs with soluble chemical fertilizers. However, you will achieve a healthier, sustainable green – with patience. In other words, there may be a transition period when going from chemical to organic lawn care programs). Lady Bug Brand 8-2-4 Lawn and Garden Fertilizer is a great choice, available in a 25-pound bag, which covers 4,170, square feet. If you have been on an organic lawn care program for a few years, you may use the Lady Bug Brand 8-2-4 at a 4-1-2 ratio which then covers 8,340 square feet.
Early in the spring, and/or in the fall, spread compost on your lawn, one-half inch or less, and water in. This practice amends the soil, improves drainage, boosts beneficial organisms, helps decrease thatch, and helps hold in moisture. According to some sources, topdressing can reduce water requirements by 50%! We recommend Lady Bug Brand Revitalizer™, All American Turkey Compost™, or Farm Style™ Compost. Here’s the formula to help you figure out how much you need:
Length (in feet) x Width (in ft.) x Depth (in inches, e.g. 0.5”) ÷ 324 = # Cubic Yards
Where your soil is compacted or contains heavy clay, aeration is the most successful solution, especially when preceded by topdressing. Manual aerators are great to help those foot-worn paths, but for an entire lawn, renting a gas-powered aerator is easiest.
Watering and Mowing
Deep watering means deeper roots, healthier grass, and more drought tolerance. For example, St. Augustine should be watered 1 to 1-1/2 inches every 5 days in the summer. The rest of the year, wait 7 days or longer. Check the watering system output using tuna fish cans or similar containers. Place containers across the yard, and time how long it takes to fill cans with 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water. That’s how long to water each time. When mowing, remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade height at a time. This avoids stress and also encourages a deeper root system. Keep mower blades sharp; ragged cuts invite more disease. Leave clippings on the lawn—they are fertilizer and organic matter!
The Whole Nine Yards
If you are trying to bring life back to a stressed, diseased, or tired lawn, or just want to do the most to pamper your healthy lawn, here are a few more steps to take. First, spray lawn with our Aerobically-brewed Compost Tea. The Aerobic Compost Tea supplies beneficial microorganisms and soil enzymes for disease suppression and greater nutrient utilization. In addition, Lady Bug Terra Tonic™ stimulates microbes, and improves soil texture, permeability, and fertility. Using both products at least four times a year is one of the best alternatives to applying truckloads of compost. For controlling weeds, use corn gluten as a pre-emergent herbicide in February and September.