Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Weeding and Feeding Your Lawn

This is another category like watering where the attitude of, “if some is good, more must be better,” can return results which are the exact opposite of the hoped for effect. Lawns definitely need fertilizer to keep them green and growing and, more importantly, to build a deep, strong, healthy root system.

But over fertilizing, especially with chemical fertilizers, can cause chemical burns to the turf itself and contribute to other problems as well. For example, most lawns build up thatch over time and it’s a good idea to have the lawn de-thatched and aerated at least every few years.

However, the most routine cause of thatch build up is not clippings left on the lawn, as is commonly thought, but an excess of chemical fertilizers. One way around this, to keep the lawn well fed, is to use organic fertilizers and soil amendments that increase the microbial bioactivity in the root zone.

These products can be a bit more expensive, for sure, but if your goal is the most beautiful lawn possible, they are worth considering. Also for those whose lawns share spaces with areas where organic produce is grown, that is another incentive to go organic with lawn products. And lastly, water runoff that contains excessive amounts of fertilizer is damaging to the environment in other ways. This is much less likely when using organic fertilizers.

Weed prevention can be addressed before or after weeds appear, but applying pre-emergence controls before weeds appear can also mean creating a lower environmental burden by preventing many weeds in the first place and reducing the need to keep applying weed killers later in the season.

Another consideration is that applying fertilizers at less than the recommended amounts, but doing so more frequently, results in a lawn which grows more evenly instead of going through a period of rampant growth followed by a sudden decline in growth, especially when the weather gets very hot. In general, attending to lawn tasks regularly and avoiding the need for sudden drastic measures to resolve a problem, means many fewer problems needing a resolution, which saves money and grief in the long run.

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