5 organic lawn care tips that don’t require any nasty chemicals.
There are certain things I think we all wished would happen a little more easily. Like being able to eat at Five Guys every day without our cholesterol levels freaking out, or asking our kids to do something without having to ask 2,312 times or, better yet, growing a lush green grass without having to use the sort of super-harsh chemicals that would make the earth scream if the earth could verbally scream.
Well, I have good and bad news.
The bad news is a) no amount of exercise could work off that many burgers and b) repeating yourself a thousand times is just part of parenting, which means the good news is, yup, you can in fact make your lawn nice n’ green without using a bunch of synthetic products. It’s a ‘back of the net!’ scenario.
The problem has always been to do with the lawn care market, which is dominated by quick-fix weed killers and fertilisers that are pretty heavy on the chemicals front, which is bad news for anything that goes into your garden: you, your kids, your pets and, you guessed it, the planet.
Thankfully, more and more eco-friendly lawn care products are popping up on the market, while it only takes a quick Google-search to find a DIY weed-killer recipe made from vinegar and salt (unless you get your ingredients from an M&S Food Hall, in which case you’ll probably use Balsamic Vinegar and Lightly Crushed Sea Salt).
There is, however, something even better than using organic products and that’s following best practises to make your lawn great again by just (with just a teeny-tiny bit of help from some no-nasties products).
So, without further ado, here’s how to care for your lawn in an eco-friendly (guilt-free) way:
Here’s a widely-known fact for you: it takes healthy soil to grow healthy grass. So if you want to enjoy a super-green, super-healthy lawn this summer – without using any nasty chemicals to get you there – the best thing you can create is a foundation that’s richer than Jay Z (he’s a billionaire) but in nutrients, not money.
To do this in a way that best pleases the planet, try aerating your lawn a couple of times a year and then throwing down a top-dressing of homemade and wholly weird compost. And if your lawn still looks a bit thin in places (which it won’t), simply overseed your turf with some high-quality seed mixture. Why? Because the thicker the grass, the less room there is for weeds.
I’m not actively trying to overcomplicate the world of lawns, but you should know there are different types of grass, and the reason you should know this is nothing will keep your lawn greener than the lawn itself. Anyway, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, there is: ryegrass, fountaingrass, perennial ryegrass, chinese silver grass, scutch grass, tall fescue, common couch reed, canary grass and rough 6,764 other types of grass. It’s crazy.
Thankfully, we live in the UK, so all you would need to create a tough and healthy lawn is a dwarf ryegrass . That’s all.
Rule number one of lawn care: always mow at the proper height. Rule number two of lawn care: always mow at the proper height. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve always wanted to bring the worlds of lawn care and Fight Club together. I’m saying this because grass cut too short is going to get more stressed out than a supply teacher that’s lost their voice, and that’s because shorter grass is more prone to insects and disease and drought. So when you next drag your mower out of the shed, make sure you set the deck to 3-3½ inches and, if possible, use a mulching mower so that leaves are clipped back into the lawn. It’ll help the soil big time.
Your lawn loves a splash of fertiliser. Like really loves it. And if it were given a choice of synthetic and organic fertilisers, you can bet your kid’s beloved wendy house it would pick the organic stuff. So would the world. Why? Because they’re made from natural things, like bone meal and kelp meal and fish meal and alfalfa meal and carbon. Good stuff.
And if you were to dig a little deeper, you’d find your lawn also loves slow-release fertilisers, which are so clever they actually enable your grass to absorb more of the nutrients it’s craving. As for when to fertilise, the best time to throwing this stuff around is spring and then again in the autumn.
When you’re buying food, you probably have a quick glance at the back of the packet to see what ingredients have been chucked in it before you buy (and if you don’t, you should). Anyway, the same goes for your fertiliser, weed control and lawn care products in general.
Don’t worry, the rule of thumb is pretty simple: if you see the words – or signs for – ‘hazardous’ or ‘toxic’ on the product label, you can be pretty sure there are some seriously nasty chemicals inside. Of course, nothing can be sold without stringent testing by industry regulators, but if you want to keep your lawn lean, green and lush, I’d stick to the natural stuff.