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Lawn And Order: Ensuring A Naturally Beautiful Lawn

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

There’s no better time to go green than in the warm, balmy days of spring and summer. And, what better place to start going “green” than with your lawn?


Organic lawn care is a system of maintaining your lawn using a series of strategies that work with the natural environment to foster and promote ecological balance rather than disturb the delicate natural process that helps keeps pests under control.

Fact: one teaspoon of organic soil helps sustain the life of literally billions of microbes, which are responsible for make soil nutrients readily available to plant roots, controlling fungal diseases and aiding the break down thatch, a common problem with chemically treated lawns. That’s because, say experts, pesticides and/or synthetic chemical fertilizers destroy beneficial microbes. And, they add that even earthworms are important for a healthy, lush lawn, aerating the soil and fertilizing it with their castings.

But, organic lawn care doesn’t mean leaving things entirely up to “Mother Natrue”, it “does” require some work and effort on your part. Statistics show that many lawn pesticides have well documented negative health effects including neurological disruption, reproductive damage, and a greater risk for cancer. And, some pesticide residues get into the groundwater affecting children especially since they are the ones most susceptible to health risks and since they are the ones most in contact with the great outdoors as they play on lawn. Remember, even a minimal amount of chemical can do long-term damage, especially to developing bodies that are not always able to fight off or filter out toxins. In addition, birds, fish, and advantageous insects such as ladybugs can also suffer adverse repercussions from pesticides in the yard. Birds, for instance, can help keep tabs on insects, and that means we want to attract them to our lawns and not keep them off.

Here’s what the experts suggest:

· Ramp up your maintenance plan: Your first step should be making the proper seed selection, best suited for your area or region. According to experts, tall fescue blend is generally best. Maintain by mowing, but keeping blades high, at around 3-inches so that the grass can grow stronger and deeper roots that won’t shade out weed seeds. Do not discard of the clipping, but instead allow them to be naturally returned to the ground and soil, returning natural nitrogen to both. Keep water to a “minimum”, just make sure the water penetrates deeply when you “do” water, helping to encourage root growth. Keep in mind that light water facilitates shallow root growth and frequent water can facilitate fungal disease. Also, soils abundant in organic matter are better at retaining water.

· Enhancing soil life: The “trick” to better soil is compost say experts. Why? Because it puts back in the soil the necessary ingredients of micro-organisms and organic matter. And, believe it or not, it’s rather affordably through town composting programs. The second ingredient to promoting soil life is adding organic fertilizer. These, compared to conventional alternatives add nitrogen to the ground slowly, rather than in abundance (like chemical fertilizers), which also result in excess run-off. Experts suggest looking for varieties with low “N-P-K” ratios, such as 8-2-4, referring to the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.


· Improvements to your soil: Enrich your soil by adding rock dust which adds trace elements to it or kelp extract which adds vitamins, plant growth hormones and minerals that bolster the strength of plants and help your lawn fight off mid-summer stress. Also, make sure to always use PH. Experts recommend a palletized, calcitic lime to lower soil acidity. It’s best to test your soil before making investments, so that you don’t find yourself spending unnecessarily on products you don’t need. Note that affordable pH kits are available at most local garden stores.

· Natural pest control:
Other natural products that help keep pests under control include garlic oil, which keeps mosquitoes at bay, especially when sprayed to the periphery of your yard. Many of these oils are now readily found in stores, and while the smell may linger for a day or two, mosquitoes will smell it up to a month. Vegetable based horticulture oils keep soft-bodies pests at bay and hot pepper wax repels a host of insects from flowers and veggies.

Finally, a list or organic landscapers can be found via neighborhood-network.org.

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > Lawn And Order: Ensuring A Naturally Beautiful Lawn

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