Nationally, organic lawn care is a “hot” topic. As if it were something new! It certainly is not. Organic lawn care was exclusively practiced before WWII. After the war, the chemical procedures took over.
There are many misconceptions, myths and outright lies which have made the subject of organic lawn care almost un-definable. Chemical lawn care companies claim to offer an “organic” lawn care program, yet often just eliminate pesticides. Chemical companies and universities downplay the value of organic use, for pecuniary reasons. Professionals think that using waste products, sewage sludge, manure’s, feathers, dried blood, compost, and machines to plug holes in the ground, constitutes an organic lawn care program.
No wonder the public is confused. People don’t appreciate what a true organic-based, or organic approach lawn care program is or what it can be. And, sadly there are only a few professionals who understand natural systems well enough, and have available the necessary products and procedures to bring organic lawn care into the twenty-first century by cooperating with natural systems that are immutable.
Organic lawn care is, first and foremost, a methodology, a process, a way of thinking…not just the substitution of “organic-type” products for standard fertilizer formulations, and the automatic elimination of pesticide use because of some “magic.”
Organic lawn care is based upon solid science. One must find out what is needed. Then, according to what is needed, specialized organic materials are chosen, applied at the proper time and in the correct quantities. It takes thought. The end result, however, is a minimization of chemical usage, and in many cases even elimination. (At least, that is the goal of every practitioner who is concerned about the environment and concerned about the quality of the “product” he/she produces for their customers.)
Organic lawn care can be practiced by the average homeowner using Plant Solutions products shipped from Utah or New York. Or, if you want your lawn care professional to practice an organic lawn care program for you, he/she can be educated and provided with proven programs by Plant Solutions in Martinsville NJ, the necessary materials supplied by the professional division of Plant Solutions.
Q: What is the basis of an organic approach lawn care program? A: The soil.
The “challenge” then must be obvious. One homeowner has inherited a deep, rich soil; another a measly coating of soil over hard-pan clay, or a sandy soil that simply doesn’t work.
Often, what should be done is to add truckloads of well rotted compost to the surface and then rototill everything, the grass included, down 6-8 inches, along with other materials that an extensive soil analysis says is needed. That’s what organic farmers have to do.
They plow their fields yearly. But, what homeowner is ready to invest thousands and thousands of dollars to improve the soil, and then repeat the process every few years, so their lawn can be under an organic approach system? Very few that we’ve met. So the challenge remains, because: you absolutely cannot improve your soil from the surface using waste products; because your grass will not tolerate “layering;” and the quantities required would suffocate the hardiest of lawns.
The solution lies in understandinghow to “nurture” the plant AND the soil at the same time.
The secret is oxygen. Oxygen is needed in the root zone of all green plants. Roots cannot grow without oxygen. In addition, oxygen is needed in the soil by a host of hard workers- earthworms, microbes, insects, algae, protozoa, etc., etc. When, and only when, oxygen can freely enter and sustain the LIFE within the soil, can your lawn have the foundation to undertake an organic approach lawn care program. And, no, you CANNOT cause this to happen by poking holes into the soil with a machine or spikes on your shoes.
After oxygen has been helped to enter the soil, then you have to provide fuel energy for the many life forms within the soil so they can flourish to make the soil truly healthy.
The fuel energy that your soil needs is provided by a product that nature has made for our use. Humates, carbon-rich, mineral-rich, enzyme-rich, with latent microbial life…and energy to “feed” the small microbes which then “feed” the larger life within the soil. These hardworking life forms orchestrate a soil-health-sustainable-system which is the foundation for your turf’s health!
Now, you can begin to practice an organic approach! Now, the soil is being “fixed” to better grow grass than weeds. Now, the grass plant is healthy and tough and can withstand diseases. Now, insect pest damage is probably within tolerable limits. And, now, the quality of any soil is in the process of being improved… meeting the basic challenge of having a productive, life-sustaining soil.