Have you ever considered an organic only approach to caring for your lawn?
That's good because there are many benefits to this approach over a chemical-based one.In this post, we will discuss the top 4 reasons to start using an organic practice to care for your lawn and give you some top tips to make it work.
But first, why is it important..?
Fertilizers and pesticides are toxic. That's why they work so well against weeds and insects. But that also means a few other risks are involved, such as:
- Contact with your skin and ingestion of the chemicals by friends and family
- Chemicals leaking into the surrounding soil, streams and water supply
- Wildlife is exposed to the chemicals by contact or ingestion
Often times there are so-called "inert" ingredients in pesticides, meaning that they are classified as chemically inactive. However, some research has shown that although inert, these ingredients can still lead to "...disruption of hormone function."
I think it's clear that our use of fertilizers and pesticides has to be given serious thought.
So let's take a closer look at 4 reasons why organic lawn care could be the way to go.
In order to kill pests and weeds, the chemicals you apply must have some kind of toxin. For a small insect, the amount needed to kill it might be very small. Although this might not have the same effect on a human, the ingredient is still dangerous.
That's the reason a lot of harsh chemicals have warning labels which say “avoid contact with skin”. It can at the least be a skin irritant and at worst affect your body in more serious ways.
When you consider that we, our children, pets, and wildlife all have regular contact with the grass on the lawn it shows that this may have an impact on our health, especially over prolonged exposure of years.
But even if we don't have direct contact with the lawn, it may still impact us negatively. Spraying or applying chemicals can cause them to become air-bound and be inhaled by anyone within the area.
This increases the number of people which are possibly affected and perhaps even without them realizing it. Even if you don't get on with your neighbors, I'm sure you'd agree this is not a reasonable thing to do!
You may be thinking “I understand about the toxic chemicals, but I have just a small lawn.” I understand your thinking but imagine if everyone thought the same. The number of small lawns in the country adds up to make a huge area of land.
It's the same as thinking: “I'm only 1 vote, what difference does it make?” Added together all those votes make a huge difference.
Our environment is directly impacted by the way we treat it. The toxins and chemicals which are added to your garden will seep into the soil and the waterways. This will penetrate all the areas of the water cycle, from rain to our drinking water.
Runoff is a known problem, whereby the soil becomes saturated with water and excess water runs off into rivers and waterways, taking with it fertilizers and chemicals which are present.
Again, this will not just impact you but everyone who comes into contact with any of the toxins which are contained within the chemical-based solutions added to your lawn.
#3 Lawn Quality
The quality of your lawn depends largely on the quality of your soil and how you maintain it.
Using organic solutions allows you to add back nutrients into the soil which it may currently be lacking, without the need for high strength chemical formulas. A soil testing kit is a good way to start the process to understand what you are working with.
By using chemicals, you are in fact weakening your grass. In a strong, sustainable environment the grass would lay down good roots into the soil so it can absorb the necessary nutrients for proper growth and development.
If, however, chemicals are used to enhance its growth the grass need not plant such sturdy roots into the soil. This can lead to weak grass which is susceptible to bad weather, drought, and disease. It's less hardy to adverse conditions and more likely to be lower in quality in the long term.
Furthermore, strong grass can fend of other weeds and will be more resilient to bugs. Try to resist the urge to use chemicals to boost your grass's curb appeal...Those results are short-lived and often result in the poorer grass in the long term.
The constant use of fertilizers can almost make your lawn “addicted” to those chemicals. Without them, it will wither and appear weak. Meaning that you add more and do it more frequently. And so the process continues.
Enriching the soil with proper, organic nutrients will allow the soil levels to be of a beneficial pH and provide the grass with every nutrient it needs. Your lawn will shine and look very healthy.
#4 Cost & Maintenance
Once you start adding fertilizers, the grass will become accustomed to it and require it more frequently, therefore putting your costs up to maintain the same level of grass quality.
Maintenance will be higher as you have to repeatedly apply the chemicals to your lawn, which takes time and effort.
There are plenty of micro-organisms which are beneficial to your lawn, but by applying chemical-based solutions you are just as likely to kill them off as well as the pests.
Chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers are like antibiotics, they will indiscriminately blast everything in their way, good or bad, helpful or unhelpful.
By taking an organic approach, you will be working with Mother Nature rather than against her!
There will be lots of helpful bugs to protect your grass naturally from the invaders who will eat it, helping to promote a natural balance and thriving lawn.
Your approach to organic lawn care doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach from the beginning.
Just changing one thing at a time to an organic way will help to improve the quality of your lawn, the environment and reduce nasty toxins in the system.
Over time you can phase out a chemical-based approach. If this was true for all households, it would have a huge, positive impact on our system.
Bob Sides is the owner of Garden Power Tools. As a retired gardening and DIY enthusiast, Bob loves being out in the garden, finding ways to improve his lawn and digging into the details of new power tools on the market.
He regularly reviews new and innovative tools and methods for all things garden related. Check out his website for more information.