Our Approach To Organic Lawn Care
You absolutely need a soil test to know what is going on in your lawn. Now with the new 2011 Fertilizer laws in effect this has become mandatory if you require professional nutrient applications. If you apply any Nutrients that have phosphorus which all organic nutrients contain to some degree then even homeowners must present their soil test to purchase said nutrients.
Did you Know that LeafGro, a compost material, requires a soil test to apply? LeafGro is a major tool in the recovery from synthetic lawn care to organic. The State requires professionals to record and hand over every year the amounts of nutrients applied to all lawn areas.
- Mowing must be done every 5 days in Spring not the normal 7 days that is par for the lawn maintenance community. You must cut the least amount of grass blade possible over the longest period of time to allow the plant to recover from stress.
Cutting More often and leaving the tiny grass clippings reduce the amount of fertilizer needed yearly. After 3 years of going organic and leaving the grass clippings you would only have to apply fertilizer once the entire year.
In Maryland with the cool season grasses used the recommended height to mow is 4 inches. A taller grass stand has the added benefit of being a shade producer stopping weeds from germinating and keeping new grass seedlings cool while they mature.
- Core Aeration in Spring and Fall with Over Seeding is a must the first 3 years. It is also recommended to apply 1/4 of an inch of LeafGro after the seed and rake the entire lawn.
This application during aeration is part of increasing the topsoil depth to at least 6 inches over the coarse of the 3 years. Grass needs 6 to 8 inches of "organic" topsoil to be healthy.
This is expensive so we offer it as an option once a year in the spring.
- If your lawn is full of weeds and you want them gone Organically - you have two choices. KILL the entire lawn and start over. Or work at changing the existing conditions in the soil to promote grass growth and not weeds. Those weeds that you have now can be mowed back hit with horticulture vinegar and mechanically pulled if not too many.
If your choice is to Kill off then a black pond liner can be placed over the effected area in the Summer for two weeks. The lawn then can be mowed low LeafGro added over the lawn if topsoil depth is not optimal, tilled in with all the dead grass and weeds then seeded.
You will need to watch for new weeds germinating as there can be seeds from 5 plus years just waiting to show up. As soon as they arrive pull them or apply horticulture vinegar in the heat of the sun to kill.
- To train the grass to search deep for the water and make strong healthy roots - Watering must only be done once a week. You need 1.5 inches a week for the lawn. The best practice is to water a section for 5 minutes and let it soak in before watering the full 1.5 inches. This way the heavy watering goes down into the lawn and not into the storm water system.
- Compost Teas sprayed twice a year over the lawn helps replace or maintain the beneficial micro organism which are part of the soil food web. These organism are vital for an organic lawn to thrive. It is these micro organism that the use of synthetics has eradicated from the lawn making it sterile and unproductive in the growth of healthy grass.
It takes time, about 3 years for your lawn to recover from synthetic care
At Seneca gardens we started our organic program in 2004 and discovered a few things:
We Service:Gaithersburg, Germantown, Boyds, Clarksburg, Rockville, North Potomac, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase and surrounding neighborhoods.
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