If you want a lawn that's lush, green and thick, think organic. This means low and alternative maintenance and less cost. When growing an organic lawn, the way you mow, fertilize and water is very important.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Karen Thurber adds, "Choosing the right type of grass that is suited to your area will automatically improve the performance of your lawn. If you live in an area that is generally warm, like the southern United States, you should choose a warm season grass, like bermudagrass or centipedegrass. If you live in a cooler area, like the northern United States, a cool season grass like kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue, will preform best."
When you mow an organic lawn, the mower should be set as high as 3 or 4 inches. Longer grass is healthier than grass that is mowed close to the ground. The longer it is, the more stamina it has to fight off disease. Longer grass uses the extra sugar that's available to increase growth, which will make your lawn lush and thick.
TIP: Karen adds, "Warm season and cool season grasses are maintained at different heights. It is recommended that cool season grasses be maintained at 3-4 inches, while warm season grasses are maintained shorter, around 1-2 inches."
Use mowing to fight weeds. Mow high and frequently. Weeds and grass compete for sunlight, so mow your grass high and it will keep weeds in the shade to prevent them from getting enough sunlight to grow. Without sunlight, weeds will die and you will have a weed free lawn.
TIP: Karen suggests, "Frequent mowing should be practiced, as a general rule you should cut off no more than 1/3 of the grass at any time."
If you have an organic lawn and want it to stay lush and green, don't remove the grass clippings after you mow. The grass clippings provide organic matter and nitrogen, which in turn provides the soil with important nutrients.
When you water, add a least 1 inch of water. Watering deeply forces the grass to set down deeper roots. This makes the roots of the grass deeper than those of the weeds. When the soil dries out, the weeds will die from lack of moisture, while the grass stays lush and green.
Another benefit of watering deeply is that your lawn requires less frequent watering. Weeds grow well when you water your lawn on a daily basis. Deep watering only benefits the grass, not the weeds.
Watch your grass for signs that it needs watering. Grass will usually curl before turning brown--water deeply when grass curls. Administer 1/2 inch of water, then wait 3 to 4 hours and give another 1/2 inch. This gives the soil time to absorb the water between waterings.
TIP: Karen says, "Generally, lawns require 1 inch of water per week. Keeping track of your rainfall can help you plan your watering schedule. When additional water is required, watering in the early morning is best. This allows the leaves to quickly dry, reducing problems with diseases, and saves water by reducing evaporation."
Fertilize in the spring and fall with an organic fertilizer, only if your lawn requires it.
Have the pH levels of your lawn tested annually by a lawn care expert. PH testing equipment purchased in home and garden centers tend to be inaccurate. This can cause errors in lawn maintenance that can completely destroy your lawn. The perfect pH level for grass is 6.5. When pH levels dip below 6.0, add lime to the soil. If the pH levels increase above 7.0, add gardener's sulphur to the soil. If you keep the pH level perfect, your grass will be lush, green and thick.
Sun is an important aspect of having a healthy lawn.
Most grasses that are used for lawns require at least some direct sun. Even the mixes labeled "shade" need partial sun. If an area of your lawn is deeply shaded, you may want to consider turning it into a flower bed and planting plants that thrive in the shade.
Keep your lawn healthy, lush, green and thick by following these organic tips. You will be amazed at the results.