April 27, 2018

Organic Lawn Management

The Technical Aspect of Organic Lawns

Organic lawn management is the practice of establishing and caring for a garden lawn using organic horticulture, without the use of chemical inputs such as pesticides or artificial fertilizers. The primary element of organic lawn care is the use of compost to reduce the need for fertilization and to encourage healthy soil that enables turf to resist pests and disease.

Synthetic (inorganic-based) fertilizers are made in a chemical that uses fossil fuel that may contribute to global warming. They also greatly increase the amount of nitrogen entering the global nitrogen cycle, which may negatively impact the world’s ecosystems; including accelerating the loss of biological diversity. Nitrogen fertilizers release N2O, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere after application.

The top reasons for using compost for organic lawn management:

1. It incorporates organic material into the soils which raises the CEC percentages (Cation Exchange Capacity). The is the soils measure of its ability to hold and release various elements and and compounds into the soils for the lawn to be able to uptake.

2. A reduction of synthetic (inorganic based) nitrogen based fertilizers and chemicals added to the lawn.

3. Increased root depth of the lawn which in turn allows a reduction of water requirements.

4. Creates a thick and healthy lawn which in turn allows for a reduction in water requirements.

5. Compost topdressing for 1 to 3 years is part of the rehabilitation process required to restore the soil to its natural, biologically active state.

6. Increasing the organic matter content of soils will provide more holding points for iron, and will also increase the biological activity.

The cost of a natural turf management program is incrementally higher during the first two years, but then decreases significantly as soil biology improves and water requirements diminish. Total expenditures over five years show a cost savings of more than 7% using natural turf management, and once established, annual cost savings of greater than 25% or greater can be realized.