Fall Lawn Renovation the Organic Way

by admin on August 28, 2013

© 2013 by Danylo Kosovych and Organic Edible Gardens LLC

Fall, in general, is the best time of the year for planting. With temperatures slowly cooling down and an increase in precipitation, newly installed plants have a good opportunity to establish themselves. When it comes to the month of September specifically, this is a good time for planting cool weather annuals, whether they are petunias or pansies or vegetables like lettuces, arugula, spinach, beets and carrots. Perennials, trees and shrubs can be planted now but there is no hurry as they can be planted as late as December as long as the ground is not frozen. There is one family of plants that have a much smaller window of opportunity; their optimum period for establishment in the month of September. I am talking about our prized and sought after turf grasses. This is what we at Organic Edible Gardens are devoting our time to right now and I will explain a little about our process.

Fall Lawn Renovation the Organic Way

As the name suggests we practice organic gardening methods. In reference to lawns, this means no herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. How do you manage weeds without selective herbicides? You might ask. We burn them, or technically put we heat-sterilize them. With a specially made tool designed for organic agriculture, we pass an extremely hot flame over the weed, heating the water inside the leaves to a degree that destroys the cell walls killing the plant tissues. Now most weeds have rhizomatous roots which store energy in case their leaves die, so multiple applications are necessary to kill weeds permanently. Following a sufficient weed suppression schedule we add any necessary nutrients and adjust the pH of the soil as advised by a simple chemical soil analysis. An organically fertile soil requires organic matter; it is the food that the microbes eat in order to produce nutrients for the plants. Most lawn soils, especially chemically treated ones have low percentages of organic matter. In order to improve this, we apply a top-dressing of well matured compost. We follow this with an aeration to improve soil porosity, work the compost into the soil and to provide a good seed bed for the grass seed. Seed selection is important as certain varieties are best adapted to our climate. We also include certain non- grass seeds in our mixes that work well in turf systems whether by fixing nitrogen or filling in niches that other weeds would otherwise fill without altering the look of the turf. With a little help from Mother Nature in the form of rain, a short time later you can have a more drought tolerant, lush green lawn for your children to play in without the health risks of synthetic pesticides or contamination of the watershed.

Danylo Kosovych
Organic Edible Gardens LLC

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