Reasons For Organic Lawn Care

Organic lawn care is becoming increasingly popular in the Raleigh, Apex, and Cary area of North Carolina, as well as all around the country. Why are people using natural fertilizers and soil conditioners instead of chemicals on their lawns?

Healthy soil is the objective of organic lawn care. Healthy soil grows healthy plants. Turf is an aggressive plant, and will out compete weeds and resist pests and disease if the soil is healthy. The best way to create healthy soil is to add organic fertilizers and soil conditioners, whereas chemical fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides hurt the soil. Let’s examine why.

The addition of natural ingredients increases microbial activity. Microbes in the soil fix the nutrients that plants need for growth and are released slowly and as needed by the plants. Petrochemical fertilizers, however, are often high in soluble salts, which are detrimental to plants and soil microbes, thus decreasing microbial activity and plant nutrient uptake. Even high-analysis N-P-K chemical fertilizers have very low plant-use efficiency. Organic fertilizer nutrients such as fish emulsion and kelp release slowly, which minimizes the environmental impact on local streams and wells.

Turf develops deep root systems with proportional top growth because organic fertilizers and soil conditioners like fish emulsion and kelp supply nitrogen as part of a balance of nutrients. Balanced growth causes naturally managed lawns to resist disease, drought, and insects much more successfully than high input lawns. Efficient nutrient cycling in the natural lawn prevents thatch buildup. Recycling thatch gives lawns an extra boost of two pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet over a growing season. Naturally managed lawns need less mowing than high nitrogen lawns.

Chemical lawn care practices cause inefficient nitrogen usage because of micronutrient deficiencies. Turf takes up micronutrients and nitrogen in fixed proportions, so when nitrogen is abundant, micronutrients need to be, also. Chemical lawn care practices cause inefficient nitrogen usage because of micronutrient deficiencies. Turf takes up micronutrients and nitrogen in fixed proportions, so when nitrogen is abundant, micronutrients need to be, also. Most commercial fertilizers don’t supply micronutrients, so lawns will not use all the supplied nitrogen because of the lack of the proper proportion of micronutrients to nitrogen.

Soil fertility in naturally managed lawns is regulated by soil microbes, which control the fixation and release of nutrients. Those nutrients are stored and released as the lawn needs them, in proportions that promote healthy growth.[[I:]]

Carolina Organic Lawns uses natural soil conditioner containing kelp and fish emulsion, which are potent macro and micro nutrient sources. Many of those nutrients are in chelated form, so they are held in reserve until the plants need them. Your turf gets the nutrients it needs, when it needs them.

Chemical fertilizers supply nitrogen as a salt, which dissolve quickly in the soil, encouraging weed growth. Late season nitrogen spikes specifically favor crabgrass.

Turf produces excessive top growth after a nitrogen spike instead of storing carbohydrates. Lawns need carbohydrate reserves to survive drought and stress.

Fertilizer that is released rapidly allows nitrogen to leach through the soil, which pollutes wells, surface and ground water. Nutrients supplied by natural fertilizer, soil conditioners and compost tea are organic compounds such as proteins and carbohydrates. These are water insoluble compounds which are held in the soil until they are digested by microbes and other organisms, “time-releasing” plant nutrients with no leaching and no pollution.

Chemical salt based fertilizers toxify the soil, reducing soil microbe and earthworm populations. Consequently nutrient cycling is reduces, decreasing soil organic matter content, increasing soil compaction and damaging soil structure. Natural soil conditioners and compost tea helps restore soil to it’s natural nutrient balance, which encourages soil microbes and earthworms to repopulate the soil, increasing nutrient cycling and loosening soil structure.

Healthy soil is the goal of organic lawn care. Organic methods stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes, microbes and earthworms, creating a rich healthy soil. Healthy soil grows healthy lawns!

Properly aerated and conditioned lawns develop deeper, stronger root systems. As a result, the turf will be more drought and heat resistant, and better able to pull oxygen and nutrients from the soil. Lateral growth is stimulated, creating a thicker lawn that is able to crowd out weeds and needs less frequent mowing and watering. High nitrogen, commercial fertilizers promote vertical blade growth and need to be mowed more often.

Check out the results of Harvard University’s organic lawn care testing. Chemically maintained grass on left; shallow root system. Organically maintained grass on right; deep root system.[I:] Photo: Harvard University

What’s Wrong with Synthetic Fertilizers?

Chemical High Nitrogen Fertilizers increase the risk of disease, insect infestations, and weed problems, and cause immense stress on plants and seedlings. Synthetic fertilizers induce quick growth by making excess nutrients available for a short time. The turf absorbs the chemicals quickly and the excess energy is used for a very rapid above the soil growth spurt, instead of storing carbohydrates. Excess nitrogen leaches through the soil or washes away, polluting wells, ground, and surface water, leaving behind salts that reduce the microbe and earthworm populations. Nutrient cycling is reduced, organic matter is reduced – which inhibits thatch decomposition – and the resulting soil compaction promotes weeds and further soil damage.

The Organic Solution

Organic fertilizers, soil conditioners, and compost tea immediately reverses the process. It’s nutrients are held in reserve until needed by the plants.

Our organic solution contains a total supply of nutrients as organic compounds such as proteins and carbohydrates, which are held in the soil until the microbes and other organisms in our compost tea digest them. This starts and fuels the self sustaining process, which leads to increased nutrient cycling and naturally aerated soil structures.

There is no more potent combination of hydrolyzed fish extracts, kelp, sulfate of potash, microbiology and other proprietary ingredients than is in our lawn solution.

In conclusion, synthetic fertilizers may give your lawn a quick burst of green, but your lawn becomes addicted to the cycle of chemical fertilizer, fungicide, and pesticide applications. As the toxins make the soil less able to support the microbial life that turf needs to thrive and compete, increasing amounts of chemicals are needed to produce a green lawn.

Organics, however, added to your soil, create the conditions that your lawn needs to vigorously grow and out compete weeds, fend off disease, pests, and drought. Over time, your lawn will need less fertilizers and other inputs as the soil becomes healthier, and your turf becomes thick, lush, and green, naturally.

If you are considering organic lawn care for your turf, read all the great information at This article, Reasons For Organic Lawn Care is available for free reprint.

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