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Manual The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care (Back-To-Basics)

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Call your local extension office. My local extension office will test pH for free. I've heard of some that charge ten bucks. A long time ago I bought the Oakton pHTestr 2 plus 4. I looked it up and found it here. A little side note: a dusting of lime on the soil surface has been shown, in most cases, to nearly double earthworm reproduction. My soil was only half an inch deep. Even weeds had a tough time growing. Below my half inch of soil was huge river rocks seperated by smaller rocks, sperated by sand.

It bore no resemblance to soil. I added four inches of topsoil. It covered all of the weeds with enough soil that they could not work through - I could start from scratch with my grass seed of choice! I have a friend that has soil this deep. While everyone else waters a dozen times or more over the summer, she waters just once or twice.

She uses no fertilizer or pesticides. She has thick, dark green, weed-free grass which requires frequent mowing. Her lawn is about as "no-brainer lawn care" as you could get. This is a good time to talk about soil quality too. There is a big difference between dirt and soil. Soil is rich in microbial life and has a lot of organic matter in it.

Dirt comes in many forms and it's a challenge to get anything to grow in it. If you are getting "topsoil" delivered to your house, be prepared for it to bear more resemblance to "dirt". You may want to have compost also delivered to your house so that you can mix the two and have the beginnings for "soil". One part compost to two parts dirt is a good mix for lawn care. But there are some weeds that are almost impossible to get rid of, no matter what.

Some of these are even resistant to the chemical army. These two have HUGE root systems that might go as deep as thirty feet into the soil. They spread with rhizomes, just like your grass. The above techniques will discourage them enough to go to your neigbor's instead. They don't like tall grass or mowing. They might try to pop up on fences or other lawn borders. Fifty outcroppings could all be part of the same plant, so you really have to get as much of them as you can.


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The key is to remove the green plant that provides it with sugar. It needs sun and sugar to support that massive root system. Repeated digging will weaken it to the point that bugs and bacteria can take over. I once moved to a house that was infested with both bindweed and thistle. Imagine my yard as a big rectangle. I started pulling weeds on the left and stopped about ten percent of the way across. A few days later, I started at the left again and picked out anything that cropped up in the last few days and then made a little progresss into the rest of the rectangle.

The important thing is to always weed the area you already weeded first. If I didn't do it this way, then the weed would recover in the first section while I was attacking another section. Refer to the pH stuff above. They can also indicate compacted or poor soil. The above methods will prevent dandelions from propogating. Since dandelions live about five years, the mature dandelions will struggle with the tall, thick turf and die off in two to three years. I now think that a few dandelions poking up once in a while are kinda nice and I leave them alone.

Refer to fertilizing above. The above methods will keep black medic in check.

Tips for a Lush, Organic Lawn

You will occassionally see a little once in a while, but it is kinda pretty when it isn't taking over your lawn. This stuff is sometimes called "yellow clover". When it's taking over, it will choke out grass and make flat mats about a foot in diameter. I found a litte in my current lawn and it was a single tiny strand with little yellow flowers. White and pink clover is often desired in a lawn. It contributes nitrogen to the soil and doesn't compete strongly with the grass. Yellow clover is actually "black medic" see above. For more on controlling clover, see "getting rid of clover" in our lawn care forum.

A little water washes the niacin away and the plants around it can have a fighting chance. Especially if mowing is involved. Mow a little more frequently in late june and early july to wipe out knapweed. Now that you aren't dumping toxic gick on your lawn, you can enhance it with some other growth. They're done blooming long before the first mow.

These are bulbs that are planted in the fall.

8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Lawn

Go ahead and plant a few dozen right in the middle of your lawn. To buy some bulbs, click here. To buy some seed, click here. It feels really cool to walk on with bare feet.

Lawn Care Tips: Seeding, Fertilizing, Watering & Mowing | The Old Farmer's Almanac

For more about fun stuff to grow, check our lawn care forum for this thread. With these methods you will mow less, water less, never buy pesticides and have the best looking lawn on your block. A little lawn care side trip: Some entertaining perspective on why you should care about how you care for your lawn. Before my master gardener training I thought that herbicide use had a time and place. The training covered not only the time and place, but also covered the details of toxicity. A quantity of D that would be about the same as a roll of life savers rubbed on the skin of four kindergarten children would kill two of them.

This is not getting it in their mouth, but just rubbed on their skin. My reading on this subject has exposed far too many nightmares than I care to share here. My closing opinion is that I can see no time and no place to ever use herbicides. Especially not for anything as frivolous as lawn care. I would rather have weeds. I actively participate in these permaculture forums. And there is a whole forum dedicated to nothing but doing lawn care the way I advocate.

Feel free to pop over and ask questions any time. If you are thinking about doing this lawn care thing as a bidness, then I would like to point you toward my buddy Patrick's lawn care business stuff. He has been helping folks make a go at lawn care income for damn near ten years.

He provides all sorts of bean counting, newsletters, advertising and As an added bonus, for every people that click on this stuff, Patrick has agreed to give me pie. You want me to have to have pie don't you? I am compiling a list of lawn care providers that fully subscribe to my philosophies and techniques! Please visit my lawn care providers page. I recommend "tall fescue". Be sure to check the label and make sure it is pure tall fescue. Some outfits that sell seed mix in some annual ryegrass and call it "nursury grass - it will care for the tall fescue which takes longer to germinate.

Note that tall fescue seed is significantly more expensive than annual ryegrass Tall fescue makes deeeeeep roots and is one of the most drought tolerant species. Combining this species of grass with the infrequent watering makes it one of the best lawn care species for fighting weeds. It also means you can have a lovely lawn using less water. Tall fescue is one of the most durable grasses. It stands up well to the abuse of football games and pets.

It will also stand proud at three inches, four inches and five inches! Kentucky Bluegrass starts to waver at three inches. It is slow to germinate. It could be two weeks until you see the baby grasses. In the meantime, weed seeds have probably germinated. Some people think it is not the prettiest type of grass. The fine fescues very different from tall fescue have thin blades and the tall fescues have broad blades. I have to admit that a lawn with the fine blades does look better - as long as nobody ever walks on it. But who wants grass that you're not allowed to walk on?

Some people think that tall fescue doesn't feel as good under bare feet. This is true.

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Tall fescue is a stiffer grass. The grasses that feel better are the ones that won't compete with weeds as well. Besides, I think most folks won't notice the difference in feel between tall fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass. Note that Tall Fescue is a cool season grass for areas that get a frost. I'm not very familiar with warm season grasses to make a recommendation.

You can get some tall fescue seed here. Nearly every county in the United States has a county extension office. The word "extension" means that the office is an extension of the the state agricultural school. This office is staffed by people who are paid to answer questions about plant life in the county including lawns. If people don't call, they could lose their jobs! Ask lots of questions! Take weed samples to them for identification!

Bugs too! Sometimes the phones are manned by volunteers. Folks that love gardening and horticulture so much, that they are itching to share their lawn care expertise with you. Many of these folks have completed the master gardener training offered by the extension office. If nothing else, a visit to the office can be worthwhile because they have loads of brochures about issues in your area. To find them, open your phone book to "the blue pages" government listings under "County Government" and look for "Extension Office", "Extension Agent" or "County Extension".

Grubs are the larvae of certain species of beetles. Grubs think grass roots are yummy. If you dig up dead patches of grass you just might see a bunch of grubs munching away. I have never had to personally deal with grubs. And I have yet to encounter an organic grower that has had to deal with them. But I have had many people write to me and ask how to deal with grubs organically. Nearly all of them have mentioned "Last year I sprayed toxic goo to get rid of the grubs and now they're back". While I did not see what happened, my guess is that birds and other natural grub control ate the dead grubs and died.

No more natural grub control. So the trick is to kill the grubs, but don't harm anything that eats grubs. The answer is to bring in more grub predators. So if a bird eats a dead grub, the bird will be fat and happy. Predatory nematodes also called "beneficial nematodes" are like micro worms that crawl through the soil and eat a variety of different organisms, including grubs. Here it is for sale: click here. If you have an inch of "dirt" and everything under that is big rocks or rock-hard clay, improving your "dirt" isn't going to make much difference. You are probably going to need to import some top soil.

If you have the bucks, you can have a foot and a half of topsoil dropped on your existing lawn and then plant new grass seed and start over. Soil on top of dirt ain't bad. Take a post hole digger and dig a hole about two feet deep. Stir a little grass seed into the top quarter inch of soil. I think that by doing this, you will create a wonderful home for worms and a great place for deeeeeep grass roots. Over time, the roots and the worms will convert the neighboring dirt into soil.

People that are trying to grow mushrooms will provide the mushrooms with rotting sawdust or rotting logs. Generous moisture and a lack of direct sunlight can help too. In the horticultural world "rot" almost always mean "composting". To properly compost, you need a certain mixture of carbon heavy organic matter wood, dried leaves, straw, etc. If you get just the right mix, you get hot composting happening.

Too much nitrogen and it gets a little stinky. Too much carbon and the composting takes a very long time. To get rid of mushrooms, you just need to get your lawn to outcompete them. Grass loves a nitrogen rich soil. Mushrooms love a carbon rich soil. Lawn fertilizer has heaps of nitrogen and hardly any carbon. Time to fertilize! Twenty bucks and ten minutes of time will do wonders for your lawn care strategy. Here's something that can be a kick: take a close look at your mushrooms.

If there are a bunch of them, are they growing in a circle? If so, this is called "fairy ring". The ring will grow larger and larger as the spores from the current mushrooms land just outside of the ring. Consider for a moment that if you have a lot of mushrooms in your lawn, this is most likely a sign that you have really excellent soil! Further, the mushrooms you see are the fruiting bodies of a much bigger fungus organism under the soil.

Most fungus organisms help your grass be healthier - so I'm usually glad to see a few mushrooms in my lawn now and then.

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The mushrooms are usually gone as soon as things dry out a bit. For more on getting rid of mushrooms, see "mushrooms on lawn" in our lawn care forum. Dog poop and dog pee are both high in nitrogen. But if you give your lawn too much nitrogen, you'll kill it. Not the whole lawn.

Just the spot with too much nitrogen. Because the winters are rather mild in the southern U. Okra, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are all easy to grow, produce well, and persist through the growing season. I've been getting a lot of mushrooms growing in my lawn and I have a dog and I'm afraid he's going to eat them and get sick or die, I don't know how to get rid of them does anyone know how to get rid of them keeping in mind It needs to be a pet friendly way of getting rid of them.

We too had several kinds of mushrooms -kind name b. Later this year , we will relocate some fruittrees and try another approach on 'lawn' : we leave a round spot in the middle of our garden on which flowers , vegetables and also a nice 'rug' of soft green grass will grow : good to look at the clouds on a dry day.

The part of the garden where the fruittrees will grow , we 'll let the grass grow but mow a path through it. Now did i make myself clear to y'all ;op. I tilled my yard last spring in hopes of getting a nice lawn, I used Kentuckey blue grass seed but all I got was dirt and weeds. I'm going to try again and I'm thinking of using Pennington PA. In the NE, during the rainy April-May period, aeration is normally done in the early autumn when the soil is firm.

Once Mother Nature settles down in June-July, the lawn can successfully be cut at ". I ran over a toad the other day while mowing and last year my husband ripped a leg off a toad with the weedeater, I really hate the need to mow and the intense desire of humans to have a perfect manicured lawn. What I mean to say I guess is watch out for the little creatures hiding everywhere. Very much agree with Colleen May 8 We live in a village, must mow per ordinance.

It is darn hard when we harm one of the little critters we share space with. We do try to be very careful, and are continuing to enlarge flower gardens so there is less lawn to mow. Always send out prayers of protection for the critters, whom we often name. Hi, Hiandlo: A good rule of thumb for winter rye is 2 weeks before the first frost. In Lubbock, for example, the first frost usually arrives around Nov.

Good luck! Here's a whole bunch of tips on growing Bermuda grass in Georgia, courtesy of your county extension services! I have zoysia grass, we live in mid-florida. We are in the monht of Nov, what shd we do to maintain it. Also have a few bald spots, under a tree how can I get grass to grow in those areas?

Zoysia grass is perfect for lawns in sunny areas. You just need to keep it watered and mow when needed. For the bald spots get grass seed that grows well in shady spots. Check with your local garden center to see what is available. Now is a good time to spread the seed. From my experianced oak start to sucker or sucker more when in a drout, or can't get enuff water. You can try deep watering the oak and a regular irrigation program.


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  7. Also they sucker more when the soil temp is to hot. If the ground around the oak is not shaded. I recommend planting it with ground cover like vinca especially in oak groves. I have an oak tree and the new shoots are competing with the grass. Hello, Diann, Just keep up with regular mowing.