When we first became homeowners, I wasn’t sure where to begin when it came to the lawn or garden. Everything was overwhelming. We knew we had to mow the lawn, so we started there. Over time we learned better mowing techniques to strengthen the grass, purchased a new mower and switched to organic lawn care.
I recall purchasing some non-organic grub treatment and putting it down, and I’m pretty sure I grabbed whatever fertilizer I saw on the shelf. A lot changed once we got our dog Lulu. I became increasingly aware of the negative impact of using chemical lawn treatments.
Organic Lawn Care
Lawn Care Treatment Options
There are really only two routes when it comes to lawn care, chemicals or organic. I think most people don’t think much about what they are putting down. Other time they trust a company name or promise and only think about what a lawn may look like – not the health.
In addition to the health of a lawn, there is also another huge factor. The health of those using the lawn, the community and the Earth. We realized very quickly after getting our rescue dog that chemical lawn treatment would not be the best thing for her. In addition, pets come into the home with their paws.
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Chemical Lawn Care
As I mentioned above, my personal use of lawn chemicals has been limited. However, I went to a talk early on regarding non-organic lawn care that also really opened my eyes to the dangers of chemicals.
During the roughly two-hour session my eyes were opened to the hazards of using pesticides to control weeds, grubs and other lawn-killers.Right then, I decided to stop using chemicals.
The talk was put on by the owner and founder of Good Nature Organic Lawn Care, an organic lawn care company based in Cleveland, Ohio. The company’s founder along with Beyond Pesticides Ohio, offered a round of public presentations a few years ago in the Cleveland, Ohio-area – one of which I attended.
Organic Lawn Care in Cleveland
Later when it came to applying a few more challenging lawn treatments, we decided to hire Good Nature Organic Lawn Care to provide the treatments. There are other organic lawn care companies in Cleveland. We’ve been happy with the service thus far so this is the only company we have used.
In conjunction with using the local company for a few treatments, we also purchase organic fertilizer and apply it ourselves. Along with that we manage weed control organically.
Organic Lawn Services
Dreaming of spring may be the only thing that carries me through the winter. Each year, I receive a notice from Good Nature Organic Lawn Care asking if I would like an early bird discount on services for the year. I like a good deal, so early pay is a no brainer for me.
Typically I order a late summer application of nematodes (microscopic organisms that help control grubs). I was once, just like you. I had never heard of nematodes. I didn’t know organic lawn care existed.
And I may have been throwing some Scotts fertilizer on my lawn along with some grub killing pesticide – thinking that was the best, and only – option. Enter Good Nature Organic Lawn Care.
Why Organic Lawn?
There are both chemical and non-chemical lawn care options. Everyone can make their own choice and I realize sometimes a lawn may be in such disrepair that using organic methods may seem inadequate.
There is also the option of restoration or overhaul of a lawn in that case. I really just want to share reasons why organic lawn care is good. My intention is to education and share those reasons because they might not be readily apparent.
As I said I didn’t think much about this either until we got a pet. Here’s why I only practice organic lawn care.
For me, there are three main reasons:
- For Children
- For Pets
- For the Environment
Organic Lawn Care Costs
Many people might assume organic lawn care is expensive. I do not think it is at all. In fact I wrote an entire organic fertilizer post about how we easily care for our own organically for very little money each year.
I have found organic lawn care to be easy, cost-effective, and most of all, to give me peace of mind with both our daughter, and our dog Lulu. If you are curious about making the switch I highly encourage you to read more about the dangers of commercial lawn products and the benefits of organic lawn care.
Organic Lawn Fertilizer
I have purchased fertilizer through my local company, and I have also purchased Espoma Fertilizer (available in Cleveland at Petitti Garden Centers and anywhere online). The program is affordable and the package explains exactly how to apply the product and how much square footage the product will cover.
I apply the fertilizer myself using a Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader, which I bought at a garage sale. It takes about 20 minutes, four times a year.
My first application goes down around Easter. Right now is the time to start thinking about your spring lawn. You can still apply that first spring application now or play catch up as soon as you purchase the treatments.
Organic Lawn Misconceptions
I believe there are still misconceptions surrounding organic lawn fertilizer and even organic gardening. These misconceptions are usually due to a lack of education – which is understandable. Most people buy a home or property and haven’t taken “Lawn Care 101” in high school.
Homeowners often feel pressure (self-imposed perhaps) to make sure their lawn is perfectly green and weed free and will do anything they think will make that happen – including using chemicals.
Additionally, for decades the companies and services using these chemical applications have promoted and marketed heavily to us – often including photos of children and pets on the lawn. Meanwhile, once an application is made you will see a flag indicating children and pets should not be on the lawn. It’s all very confusing and understandably so!
Many people believe that it’s too expensive to practice (the four step organic program is very affordable). This is literally the bare minimum investment for the program I am going to tell you about today. I supplement the program with a few treatments, but we still spend only a few hundred dollars per year on lawn care treatments, supplies and grass seed and everything combined.
Lastly, people also believe that organic lawn care does not work. Our lawn is lush, green and comfortable to walk on. Organic lawn care does work. However, it is not a quick fix or an overnight change.
You must be persistent, patient and seek long term results. Having a lush organic lawn is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep in mind if you don’t want to do the organic treatments yourself you can always hire a company too.
What is preventing you from trying organic lawn care?
*This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness. I’m not affiliated with Good Nature Organic Lawn Care in any way. I simply value their service and what they do for the environment.