Holistic, Organic and Natural Lawn Care

Most people out there are now aware of the meaning of holistic lawn care and holistic weed control, nonetheless, for the few ones who may still find it a bit difficult to understand, holistic weed control is the control of weed organically, naturally or without the use of any harmful chemicals. Organic weed control comes with a number of benefits which include the safety of the household and the environment as a whole.

Holistic lawn care is quickly growing into a trend for big companies and home owners who are beginning to understand the repercussions of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Tests have continued to show that chemicals have dire consequences. These chemicals are harmful to our children, our pets and the environment as a whole especially when used for long periods of time.

Chemical fertilizers are known to add salts to the soil in our lawn and gardens. Too much salt pollutes the waterways that are vital in the creation of fossil fuels. With all these and much more in mind, people are beginning to appreciate holistic lawn care methods.

When we talk of holistic lawn care, we are actually referring to a lot more than the elimination or the killing of weeds safely. It involves the growing of healthy turf or grass in soil that is naturally fertile and free of weed infestation. Holistic or organic weed control can only be successfully administered through the establishment of weed development, weed prevention and weed eradication with the latter being administered as a last resort or remedy.

Holistic lawn care which can also be referred to as organic lawn care becomes a bit complicated when it comes to weed control. This is because holistic weed control can only be achieved effectively by the holistic care and management of the lawn and soil in particular. This when done properly will result in the generation or development of less weeds. This means that when land or soil is taken care of the holistic way, it becomes healthy and promotes the growth of plants that will do better than the weeds.

To treat soil holistically or organically, the soil must first get tested so as to learn its weaknesses and its strengths. The treatment then begins with natural fertilization and modification as per the needs of the soil. The soil is then treated so as to make it strong enough to fight the development of weeds naturally. Weeds have been discovered to do exceptionally well on weak grass and compacted soil that is not healthy at all.  Once this soil is repaired holistically, the grass starts to grow stronger and soon outgrows the weeds which become ill and wither away eventually.

Discussed below are some natural tips that will repair soil and discourage the development of weeds holistically:

Mowing your lawn at a higher level than usual – doing this habitually will encourage the growth of a thick and healthy growth that will leave no space for weeds.

Treating compaction – soil compaction can be treated by aeration or airing.

Dethatching – dethatching will perk up or improve water intake in the soil.

Top dressing – top-dressing should only be done using compost.

Reseeding – re-seeding should be applied on the patches that are bare and empty. This should be done in the fall to avoid competition with weeds.

Avoid scalping – special care should be exercised when mowing so as to avoid scalping the lawn. This is because once the crown get scalped or damaged, it recuperates really slowly giving weeds a chance to thrive.

Water appropriately – proper watering should be done deeply and less frequently, this means that the soil moisture should be maintained without over-watering the soil.

If for one reason or another the lawn still becomes infested with a few weeds, organic or holistic weed eradication should applied.

Holistic Weed Eradication Methods

Corn gluten meal – this one can be classified as a holistic pre-emergent herbicide with fertilizer. Just like the name suggests, it is used to prevent the weeds from emerging. This is done together with the chemical fertilizer by suppressing or repressing the seeds of the weeds from germinating. It also promotes the grass to grow faster leaving no space for weeds to germinate.

Acetic acid plus vinegar – this one is capable of killings weed. The normal vinegar used in household duties is mixed with around 5% of acetic acid and applied repeatedly. There are stronger variations of these mixtures also used to eliminate weeds. The downside of this mixture is that it kills all the plants in the lawn and garden and should therefore be applied with outmost care.

Herbicidal soaps – herbicidal soaps are holistic weed-controlling products that are especially used for moss and algae elimination. Herbicidal soaps are made of natural oils, concentrates and various other organic matters.  Unfortunately, they are all non-selective which means they wipe out the weeds and the grass too if not applied carefully.

Mechanical weed removal – mechanical weed removal involves the removal of weeds using weed pullers like screwdrivers, trowels and the use of bare hands.

Propane torches – propane torches are used to burn weeds.

One factor that is very clear about organic lawn care is that it has been approached with a lot of skeptics or disbelief thanks to a number of myths that surround the whole undertaking.  One of these myths is that organic or holistic lawn care is really expensive. A clearer look into the origin of this myth has shown that lawn care specialists who believe in chemical lawn care products have been unknowingly/knowingly delivering this news to people who have been seeking their advice concerning this matter.

Weeds

Weeds can be simply defined as messengers of an underlying problem. Conventional or the popular lawn care strategies have a whole range of chemical solutions to most weed problems, in spite of this; the chemical solutions are not very effective because most of these weeds keep recurring every year. The reality is that total eradication of weed problems can only be achieved with the addressing of the deeper causes of these weeds. The chemicals only provide a quick- fix and temporary solution which only serves to keep the chemical manufacturers in business year in year out.

Weeds will always communicate a number of problems concerning the soil and a soil test should be able to tell exactly what is ailing the soil. Amendment will normally call for aeration and compost top-dressing. Poor drainage and soil compaction will promote the growth of weeds.

It is only through the proper understanding of holistic lawn care and weed prevention in particular that weed infestation can be prevented. The positive thing about holistic weed prevention and elimination is that it deals with these weeds permanently unlike chemical herbicides which will only address the issue temporarily.

The proper procedure involves aeration, overseeding and topdressing. This will eventually promote a healthy growth of grass and discourage the development of weed. Weeds can be termed as opportunists that target poor and unhealthy soils. As soon as weeds identify a bare spot, they will invade it as soon as they can and the most notorious weed that is known for doing this is the crabgrass. It is therefore important to overseed as soon as an empty patch appears to avoid weed infestations.

The reasons that a lawn becomes infested with weeds will differ from lawn to lawn and the solution will therefore differ in the same way. Chemical herbicides may therefore work for one lawn and fail in another lawn. The elimination of weeds can only be achieved after a complete study of the soil.

Should you decide to care for your lawn the holistic way, patience should be your strong virtue or asset because proper results can only be witnessed after several years as the soil adjusts and become accustomed to the soil conditions that will enable it to become weed-resistant. This waiting period presents a challenge to many lawn owners who find it impractical to wait all these years to see the results. Another setback to the embracing of organic lawn care is the presence of some weeds even after caring for a lawn holistically. This is perfectly normal and can be contained with time as long as the lawn is cared for holistically.

Organic Lawn Fertilizers and Their Advantages

They are extremely safe for children and pets.

They release nutrients slowly enough for the soil microbes to feed on.

They can never “burn” your lawn or garden.

They help in the restoration of nutrient balance to the soil preventing the infestation of lawn mushrooms and lawn moss.

 

Below are some of the most obvious disadvantages of conventional or synthetic chemical fertilizers:

When synthetic chemical fertilizers are applied, around 50% is sucked deep into the soil and straight into groundwater and waterways where it harms the balancing of the nutrients.

Another downside of synthetic chemical fertilizers is that they are manufactured with a lot of energy which pollutes the environment.

These fertilizers have been associated with microb blooms in the soil. Blooms consume all the carbon that is present in the soil starving the microbs which then stop producing enough nutrients that are extremely important for the well being of the lawn.

Chemical fertilizers present a risk for pets and humans.

These fertilizers are used together with herbicides, fungicides and pesticides that also have their own side effects.

Holistic Lawn Care Tips For A Healthy Lawn

Watering should be done deeply once a week.

Clippings should be left to mulch after mowing the lawn; these clippings can be used as manure as they decay.

Larger vegetation should be pruned to allow adequate sunlight to flow into the lawn.

Compost should be applied once every year but only as a thin layer. This is good for water retention and will also add organic matter to the soil.

Fertilizing should be done using an organic lawn fertilizer to maintain the greenery.

The Difference between Organic Fertilizer and Chemical Fertilizer

The advantages of using organic fertilizers over synthetic fertilizers have been discussed time and again as even more people consider the adoption of holistic lawn care. Both the organic and chemical fertilizers will benefit the lawn in their own different ways. The effects of organic fertilizers will be slow but permanent in the long end. On the other hand, the effects of chemical fertilizers are fast but temporary. Organic fertilizers have also been known to pose no harm to the environment and humans as well.

Organic fertilizers consist of roughly the same nutrients found in chemical fertilizers. These nutrients include phosphate, nitrogen and potassium which are the three most important nutrients for plant growth. All fertilizers are usually rationed using a ratio of N-P-K.

Organic fertilizers are meant to release nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil slowly; this makes it possible for the plants to absorb the nutrient unhurriedly. When compared to these organic fertilizers, chemical fertilizers are fast in releasing their nutrients forcing the plants to absorb the nutrients as fast as they can; this is not healthy for your lawn. Chemical fertilizers will also get washed away quite easily in case of a flooding no matter how mild unlike organic fertilizers which will always hang onto the soil no matter the circumstances.

Organic fertilizers may take some time to generate obvious results but will eventually improve the soil long-term. On the other hand, chemical fertilizers will only target the growth of the plants and not the improvement of the soil. Recent studies have even pointed out that chemical fertilizers do harm the soil in due time. Some of the ways in which they will harm the soil is by heightening the acidity of the soil and by exhausting the microorganisms.

Organic and Holistic Pest Control for Your Lawn

Holistic pest control also know as natural pest control is not only safe for you, your family, your pets and the environment at large, it is also much cheaper when compared to chemical products.

The damage caused by insects on lawns can only be minimized by preventing or discouraging the pests from infesting the lawns. This can be achieved by doing the following:

Pulling out the weaker plants – weaker plants will not be in the best position to fight off diseases and pests and will therefore become infected sooner or later. If they are not already infected, they stand a good chance of attracting pests into the lawn; such plants should be pulled out and disposed off in the right manner.

Treat and strengthen your soil – healthy soil can only be achieved the organic or natural way. This can be done by using compost, mulching and top-dressing the soil using compost or even organic fertilizers. This will then promote the growth of strong and healthy plants that can fight off disease and pest attacks on their own effectively.

Use sea weed- sea weed can be used either as mulch or spray. It is extremely good for lawn plants since it contains magnesium, calcium, sulphur, zinc, iron and whole range of other important minerals. Seaweed mulch is also capable of repelling slugs and snails.

Destroy breeding areas – destroying insect breeding areas will make them move away. This can be done by clearing away any debris and trash that could be used as breeding areas by the insects and pests.

Crop rotation – crop rotation or the inter-planting of plants all over the place will prevent the re-infestation of pests.

Avoid wet foliage – wet foliage is an insect and fungi puller. Watering should be done early in the day to remain dryer for a longer period.

Disinfect your tools – disinfecting your garden tools will help control the infestation of these pests especially when working on different parts of the garden.

There are also some insects that can be quite beneficial to your lawn. They are useful because they feed on other insects and larvae that are harmful to your lawn plants.

Discussed below are some common examples of insects that are useful to lawns and gardens:

Ladybugs – these insects feed on aphids, mites, scales and whiteflies. To pull them into your lawn, plant the daisy family plants or buy the bugs from online catalogs.

Lacewings – lacewings are passionate consumers of aphids and their larvae. To attract lacewings, planting composite flowers such as asters, yarrow and goldenrods is recommended.

Praying mantis – these are large insects that will feed on most garden insects. These insect’s eggs can be bought online and set out on the lawn where they will hatch within no time.

Branchonids, Ichneumon wasps and Chalcids – these are tiny insects that thrive on leaf-eating caterpillars. To invite them into your lawn or garden, planting carrots, celery, caraway, parsley and Queen Anne’s lace is recommended. It is really easy to grow these plants and the branchonids, Ichneumon wasps and the Chalcids will move in as soon as the flowering begins.

Hover- flies – hover-flies just like Lacewings will consume aphids and their larvae will consume aphids and other insects quite passionately. Hover-flies will feel at home in the presence of composite flowers like yarrow, golden rod, asters and black-eyed susans. You can buy their seed easily online or at garden centers near you.

Nematodes – nematodes feed on cutworms which are notorious for destroying sprouts before they can fully develop. Nematodes will also feed on beetle’s and root larvae.

 

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