If you're like most homeowners, you love the feeling of well-tended, emerald green lawn grass beneath your bare feet — and if kids and pets are part of the picture, you already know that nothing makes a better play surface than a lush and healthy lawn. However, you may also associate this type of lawn with a time and labor-intensive maintenance schedule that involves the heavy usage of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and you may be concerned that these chemicals aren't healthy for the four and two-legged members of your household.
Fortunately, organic lawn care techniques exist that can provide you with the best of both worlds — a thriving lawn that feels good beneath bare feet and paws, yet doesn't pose a health risk to your family. Following are some of the best practices for maintaining a chemical-free lawn without sacrificing visual appeal.
Beef Up Your Soil
The first step in implementing an organic lawn care program is beefing up the soil with organic matter. In most cases, this simply means the addition of compost prior to planting the grass seeds. Most people don't have enough compost on hand to cover the entire area, but you can purchase it in bulk from local lawn care businesses. After you've worked in the compost and planted your lawn seed, continue to build the soil by using an organic fertilizer.
Choose the Right Type of Lawn Grass
Many different types of lawn grass exist, and choosing the right one for your local growing conditions is an important factor in how well your lawn will perform. For instance, if your lawn gets a lot of hard play, you're going to want to use a type that holds up under significant foot traffic. If you live in an area where summer temperatures tend to be high, you'll want to use a type that withstands heat without turning brown and going dormant.
Pull Weeds and Fill in Bare Patches Quickly
The old-school way of simply pulling weeds as they emerge provides the best protection for your lawn. Although this practice requires vigilance, all you really need to do is inspect your yard and garden area once per week to keep weed populations to a minimum — the important thing is to never allow the weeds to go to seed. Filling in bare patches in the lawn quickly also helps prevent roaming weed seeds from finding a welcoming landing spot.