Organic gardening has become increasingly popular in recent years as more homeowners discover its many benefits. Organic products are often just as effective as harsher synthesized chemicals, but they are also a much safer, healthier alternative for family, pets, and the environment. Bering’s carries a wide variety of organic lawn care products, and our friendly, knowledgeable salespeople can ease your transition from your current regimen to more sustainable practices.
Working with nature instead of against it is an essential part of organic lawn care. The weekly mowing of your lawn to a low height creates an unnatural situation that will surely cause ongoing problems. Closely cropped grass can become thin and patchy, making plenty of room for opportunistic weeds. Short grass does not protect its own stems and roots from intense sunlight, thereby allowing the summer sun to damage them. Furthermore, shorter turf requires less water, and its root system will remain shallow and unable to resist drought. Longer grass, however, will grow thick and strong, crowding out and overshadowing weeds. Long grass also provides shade for stems and roots and encourages extensive root development, which dramatically increases your lawn’s drought tolerance. Set your mowing height to leave grass taller and mow less frequently for a hardier, healthier lawn.
Proper watering practices are another important way to encourage strong root growth. A single, long period of high-volume watering promotes superficial root systems, while shorter periods of steady, slow watering encourage deeper, stronger roots. Use soaker hoses to help establish new plantings and set your sprinkler system for frequenter watering and briefer intervals to help roots and conserve water.
The central difference of organic methods involves the use of traditional naturally-derived fertilizers instead of modern chemically-synthesized ones. Organic fertilizers come from agricultural byproducts and typically contain beneficial microorganisms that improve soil health and prevent fungus. They also have a low salt content, will not burn roots, and do not need to be watered immediately. They can be applied four times a year like their chemical counterparts (early spring, late spring / early summer, late summer / early fall, and late fall), or they can be applied continually throughout the growing season. Bering’s stocks a selection of general purpose organic lawn fertilizers as well as organic sources of iron, nitrogen, and other nutrients to help correct specific conditions and deficiencies.
Although organic gardening techniques can dramatically reduce problems caused by weeds, insects, and diseases, such issues can still occur. Prevention is always best when dealing with lawn problems, and an organic pre-emergent herbicide like corn gluten meal can stop weed seeds from ever germinating while providing valuable nitrogen. Sprays and granules based on pungent essential oils kill and repel chinch bugs and other insects and eliminate and prevent fungus. Molasses and corn meal feed beneficial soil bacteria that keep brown patch and other fungal diseases in check, and Bering’s also sells the helpful microorganisms themselves should you need reinforcements. Viral diseases are difficult to impossible to treat, and the affected grass usually dies. Replant with disease-resistant varieties and consider having your own lawn mower and landscaping tools even if you hire someone to use them. Yard crews often spread fungal spores and viruses, as workers rarely if ever stop to wash their tools after each job. Whichever your troubles, be vigilant and identify problems early when treatments will be most effective. Stick with completely organic products for the best results because synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can kill good bacteria, negating any benefits from other organics.
Most importantly, practice good prevention and quick action so you can get back to enjoying a beautiful, healthy lawn.
Written by Bering’s Lawn & Garden Specialist, Jason.