Organic lawn care is not that complicated. The main thing you need to know, is to feed the soil.
15 years ago I did not have a clue how to maintain lawns. I din’t even know there were several types of grass that could grow well in the Northeast. My routine was to go to the local hardware store, and ask for suggestions for products to put on my lawn. They would sell me whatever product they had available, and I would be driving back home with a 50 pound bag of synthetic fertilizer, fungicide, and a couple of bags of lime. I never thought about what was in those bags. I knew it would make my lawn grow green, and weed free, but it seems, I never questioned the potential health effects that those products can cause. If those products are sold everywhere, they must be safe.
Lawn care should be enjoyable
The thing that made me a little bit suspicious is, that when I was studying lawn care, for the very first time back in 2002, I was taught that, in order to apply any type of pesticide, herbicide, fungicide… basically anything that it would kill, repel, or mitigate a pest, I would need to have a pesticide license. Hold on a second! You are telling me that in order to kill crabgrass, dandelions and grubs, I need a pesticide license? Technically yes. Only, if only I am trying to kill, repel, or mitigate pests on a property other than my own. In other words, I can use Roundup to kill crabgrass from my sidewalk, but I can not use Roundup at my parent’s property. Or at my local library when I do volunteer work. So, why can I apply a pesticide on my own property, but I can not do it at my parent’s? According to Virginia Tech University, 80% of homeowners in Virginia, where responsible for the total pesticide expenditures for all turfgrass in 2004. We are predisposed to use chemicals, because it is an easy way to solve our problems with the lawn. At least, until we put another application of fertilizer, or pesticides. With the use of pesticides, I started to question the validity of using those products. What was I trying to accomplish? And my first thought was, what would my neighbors think about my lawn, if all of the sudden becomes weedy, and not perfect?
As a homeowner, I used chemical products to kill weeds, almost 15 years ago. I used them because, I knew that was the only way to grow grass. But, what made me stop using chemical pesticides and fertilizers, was the warning labels. I never bothered reading the whole label from the fertilizer bag. Really, does anybody cares about reading them? I decided I wanted to make a difference. I would choose safety over aesthetics. I did some research, and I looked to see what products would be a good replacement for chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.
I started using chicken poop, and lots of compost. I reached out to local reputable gardeners for advice. I, first trained myself in the organic lawn care approach. And I learned a lot of organic land care, and organic farming from NOFA (North East Farming Association). Organic is incredibly rewarding, and just by learning the systems approach to organic land care, outdoor gardening, and lawn care becomes fun. Talk to your local organic gardener, or organic farmer. Ask them questions. Ask them for advice. They will be happy to help, and give you guidance.