By Betty Houston:
It’s time to “Green Up” the landscaping at your home. How do you achieve lush, green grass organically without spending a lot of “green”?
Myth: Organic lawns are not as green as synthetically, chemically maintained yards.
Fact: A lawn that is maintained properly using natural fertilizer and organic pest control is not only safer for the environment, but will likely have a deeper green color, better drought tolerance and will be more pest resistant (weeds are pests, too).
Myth: Organic lawns are expensive to maintain.
Fact: Any lawn that has been neglected is relatively expensive to rejuvenate (organically OR synthetically), and once an organically maintained lawn is healthy, with proper pH levels, appropriate amounts of Macro and Micro nutrients and microbial activity, it will actually SAVE you money on fertilizers, pest control and water.
You’ve Gone Green…How do you convince your Yard to Get Green without chemicals?
- Get a soil test and make sure you understand the results. Have it done by a professional landscaper or ask your extension agent for help. North Carolina Department of Agriculture Soil Test Information
- It’s almost too late to apply a winter fertilizer to your cool season grass (like Tall Fescue), but if you haven’t yet, you should do so as soon as possible.
- Use a lime to raise your pH level. Instead of Dolomitic Lime, if you have a good amount of magnesium in your soil, you may need to use calcitic lime, like Solu-cal or Verde-cal.
- Loosen your compacted clay soil with Gypsum and top dress with organic matter.
- Remove leaves and debris from your lawn during the fall and winter to keep your lawn healthy – recycle the leaves as compost or mulch for natural areas
- While the ground is wet after a rain, look around to see if you have water standing or washing. Repair right away to prevent loosing healthy organic material on the top layer of your lawn and to keep lawns and landscaping healthy and pest free.
There are many variables in creating a healthy, pest resistant landscaping, but the first thing you must do is analyze the soil and the health of the plants growing in it. Too much fertilizer or other amendments could be just as bad (or worse) than not enough. Find out what you have first before starting any new program so that you don’t waste valuable money, time, or inadvertently contaminate our water and environment.
Link to Landscapes in Harmony, your organic landscape resource in Lake Norman:
Horticulturist, Landscape Designer