I recently wrapped up step two of my annual organic lawn fertilizer program. The program includes four applications and I supplement the program with some additional best practices and services. Organic lawn care is important to me for the safety and health of my family, our rescue dog Lulu and our planet.
One of my friends recently asked me what program I use for organic lawn fertilizer. Her question was timely as I’ve been wanting to share what program I use. The program I use is affordable, easy to do and has helped us to grow and maintain a lush, healthy lawn. You do not need to be lawn or garden expert to follow these simple steps to a better lawn.
Organic Lawn Fertilizer
I have written before about the reasons I practice organic lawn care, but as I mentioned I believe it is best for human and pet health and best for the environment. Many people do not realize the impact lawn care chemicals have on the environment. One big impact is runoff, when it rains the chemicals flow to our waterways and we end up drinking trace amounts of chemicals. You may be familiar with this concept from hearing the words “acid rain” as well.
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Most traditional fertilizers are made from chemicals and are either a pellet or liquid form application (by the homeowner or a company). As the years go on, we are finding chemicals such as these are not healthy for us, most recently the lawsuit surrounding a popular weed killer. Similarly, years ago the pesticide DDT was used prevalently until it was discovered to have harmful effects to both creatures and the environment.
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. Misconceptions include:
- Organic is expensive
- Organic doesn’t work
- I’ll have a yard full of weeds
- Commercial fertilizers are not harmful
- My lawn needs to look perfect
- Organic is difficult or confusing
Espoma Lawn Fertilizer
Right now I buy and use a four step organic lawn fertilizer program produced by Espoma. This program is similar to a popular non-organic “four step” program on the market. I purchase the Espoma bags of fertilizer at one of my local garden centers each spring. Usually I buy in April the same time they are offering spring sales so the cost of the four bags is roughly $90-$110 depending on when I catch the sale.
For the past several years Espoma has offered a mail in rebate for their program. I always send in the rebate and receive $20 back. Our yard is small so I only need to buy one bag of each of the four fertilizers, however, if your lawn is larger and you need to buy more Espoma has been offering up to $40 rebate (on 8 bags total).
I do not know if they will continue to offer the rebate long term but even without the rebate or a sale the bags typically cost about $25 to $30 each. The four steps are: Spring Lawn Booster, All Season Lawn Food, Summer Revitalizer and Fall Winterizer. To find an Espoma retailer near you visit their website, additionally you can order the organic lawn food online including via Amazon.
How to Apply the Organic Lawn Food
Each bag is labeled with directions for use, how much ground the bag will cover and when to apply. My general rule has been to apply the Spring Lawn Booster at Easter, the All Season Lawn Food at Memorial Day, the Summer Revitalizer at Labor Day and the Fall Winterizer at Thanksgiving.
What I like about this program, besides it being affordable and organic, is that it’s pretty easy. You only have to apply it four times and you aren’t even doing anything to your lawn in terms of applications from Memorial Day to Labor Day – you get to enjoy summer! Each application takes me about 20 minutes. I probably spend more time changing and showering after than actually applying the organic lawn fertilizer.
In terms of application, I use a Scott’s Mini Broadcast Spreader to apply the fertilizer. I use the 5-foot width along narrower areas of the yard and then increase the spread to 12-feet for the larger areas. When I’m finished I hose off the spreader with water. It is best to make the application before a rainfall. Additionally I prefer to make the application after the lawn has been freshly cut. After application I also use our WORX Leaf Blower to clean off any excess pellets from sidewalks and the driveway.
Organic Lawn Best Practices
Additional Organic Lawn Practices
There are a variety of ways to supplement this four-step program to go a step further with your lawn. If you are new to lawn care and organic programs I would suggest using this four step program the first year (start anytime continuing with steps three and four if you missed the first two). Additionally, when you mow make sure your mower blade is sharp and mow high. Higher grass helps choke out weeds.
If you have already mastered the four step application and want to take your lawn care a step further I can offer a few suggestions based on what has worked well for me. I hire an organic lawn care company to apply beneficial nematode treatment late August to early September. This helps reduce grubs on our lawn, which have been a problem for us. Also, the same company returns in November to perform core aeration to break up thatch and improve turf health.
Other practices I follow include patch seeding, overseeding and weed removal. Obviously, in addition to mowing there is also trimming and edging to maintain beds and the borders of concrete pathways. This can be hired out as well, just make sure to tell your contractor you would like them to mow high – again to maintain that healthier grass and choke out weeds.
Organic Lawn Fertilizer
I hope this post was informative and easy to understand. The bottom line is you can begin practicing an organic lawn care program today for very little investment. The program is also easy to do, does not take much time and will provide peace of mind for your family, pets and more as your lawn is used and enjoyed.
What is holding you back from starting organic lawn care?