Would it not be great to have a lawn you can roll around in that’s safe for you and the environment. Below are the simple steps to take to achieve these results.
#1- Philosophy- You must embrace the fact that you do not need a PGA level golf course lawn.
#2- Soil- the foundation of it all. If your organic matter in the soil is thin then your lawn will be stressed…make sure when you start a new lawn that you have 4-6” of organic/top soil layer. If you have an established lawn you can rake in compost (1/4”+ each year).
#3- To prevent weeds in the lawn naturally make sure that you overseed bare areas with grass seed to prevent weed seeds from germination. The best time to overseed is in the fall, but early spring is ok too. Seed once a week for 3 weeks to really boost the density of your lawn. Use perennial rye grass for rapid germination or if desired use fescue for a more drought tolerant lawn. You can apply Corn Gluten to help control weeds in your lawn. Be sure not to put it down when you are reseeding a lawn because it prevents germinating seeds from rooting in…apply when forsythias are blooming…water in and make sure there are 3-5 days of dry conditions thereafter. Corn gluten is also a good fertilizer so this will count as a feeding too.
#4- Establish the healthy soil organisms necessary for a great lawn…apply Mychorrizhea and bacteria to bring your soil to life. Compost tea is also excellent.
#5- Check your pH and make sure you are between 6-7. Get your soil tested if necessary. Add lime to increase soil pH.
#6- A lawn with a great soil will only need one fertilization a year. If you lawn is high traffic or your soil doesn’t hold as much nutrients, than 2 applications may be necessary. Fertilize your lawn in May/June and September at a 1lb/1,000 nitrogen rate. Use a natural lawn fertilizer that is high in water insoluble nitrogen and potassium but low in phosphorus.
#7- Make sure your lawn gets 1” of water a week. Use a rain gauge to measure. It is best to water your lawn longer, less frequently…this allows the roots of the lawn to extend down in search of water and nutrients….thus building a better root system. Water in the morning. If you lawn has lost its luster or holds onto your footprints than it needs to be watered.
#8- Mow you lawn to about 2.5”-3” tall. This helps to shade out weed seeds and also keeps the soil system cooler thus reducing the need for water. Leave the clippings on the lawn. If you have a healthy microbial system in your lawn than those organisms will breakdown the clippings and return the nutrients to the soil.