Lawn care is easy, but I think we just make it too complicated. I personally like to mow my own lawn. It must be a guy thing…I like to do one thing at a time. Like most men, I don’t think we are good at multitasking. According to my wife, I am sometimes…hopeless, because I can’t seem to figure out how to do several things at the same time. And that may be the reason why we, men, are more inclined to use pesticides to treat our lawns, because we can easily follow a 5 step program without getting lost. And maybe, that’s why I see most men are the ones mowing lawns.
Mowing is difficult, it requires our full attention. We don’t want to scalp the grass, we want to mow perfect straight lines, and we want to have a weed free lawn. My wife doesn’t see weeds. My kids don’t really care if the lawn is covered with dandelions, clover, or any other “weed” that can damage our sight of a perfect lawn.
On a trip to a hospital in 2010, during an April day, I was walking with my then 4 year old. We walked by 2 different properties. One was without a doubt treated with pesticides. The other was not. The chemical lawn was weed free, 100% covered with Kentucky blue grass, perfectly manicured with a yellow danger sign on it. The other was totally covered with Dandelions.
I looked at both lawns, and I asked my 4 year old which one she liked the best. “Than one” She said, while pointing at the lawn with dandelions. And her reason was because it looked pretty. That statement really made me think. We as a society got it wrong all this time. We have been applying toxic cocktail of chemicals to our lawns, to get rid off “weeds”. We have never asked our kids to see what they want.
Children don’t really care if we do a lawn care program
I haven’t seen any parents rolling on the lawn, picking up twigs, building fairy houses, collecting rocks, and getting themselves covered in mud. Our kids are the ones that spend countless hours outside playing on the lawn. We are being told by the fertilizer companies what is acceptable, and what is not. We are being told to use 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, methylchlorophenoxypropionic acid (MCPP), and dozens of other commonly used pesticides. These are some of the products most people use without hesitation. How many of you have ever read the label in the back of a bottle of Roundup? Do you really know what Roundup is made of? Did you know that what comes out of the bottle has never been tested for human health impacts? if you choose the chemical way to kill weeds, you will be using these products several times a year for life. This is a quick fix. Weeds will come back because the problem is not being fixed. That problem is something about the soil. Dandelion is a sign of calcium deficiency in the soil, that can be easily fixed with calcitic lime. By using chemicals we are just making the symptom disappear, but the problem is still there.
I have learned to be patient, and my customers learned the organic approach to lawn care. You can have a very nice looking lawn organically. It requires some time to improve the soil, and patience to see some weeds for a couple of years while the lawn is in transition. You can choose to have a perpetual chemical lawn, that relies on the monthly applications of fertilizers and pesticides. Or, you can choose the safe alternative. Slower, but definitely worth it. I personally would rather use seaweed fertilizer for the lawn, and clove oil with citric acid to kill weeds, than 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and methylchlorophenoxypropionic acid (MCPP).
So, what is the most important part of an organic lawn care program? Patience.