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Organic Lawn Care

A report in Grist Magazine tells us that the United States adds over 2 million acres of residential property each year. The lawns resulting from this addition are an increasing concern for environmentalists. A disturbing fact is that many lawn care companies, which formerly touted the chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that pollute the soil and endanger our families, are now creating ?Organic? lines of lawn care products.

Although the Lawn and Environment Coalition, formed last March, has formulated guidelines for ecologically friendly lawn care, there are no established or enforced standards for what counts as ?organic?. ?Hybrid mowers, water-conserving sprinklers, and organic fertilizers are all potential gold mines for industry players,? wrote industry analyst Don Montouri.

Recent organic lawn care product advertisements contain claims like ?advanced organic fertilizer? and ?98% natural ingredients?, Depending on which of the multiple definitions of ?organic? you choose to believe, claims like this are oxy-moronic. The simplest definition of organic for gardening related activities, such as organic lawn care is, ?involving the use of fertilizers or pesticides that are STRICTLY of animal or vegetable origin.?

Organic lawn care begins by providing your turf with healthy topsoil. Healthy topsoil contains natural nutrients maintained and enhanced by a living microbiological colony. These colonies are composed of animal life like earthworms and beneficial nematodes that live on the natural nutrients in the soil, die and decompose returning nutrition to the soil. They are found in decayed matter like composted yard waste and produce clippings.

Lawn care fertilization products typically feed the plant and not the soil. While they make your grass look good for the short term, they generally don?t improve the soil, which is what needs to be done for long-term organic lawn care.

While water conservation is a genuine issue, water-conserving sprinklers are not good organic lawn care products. Healthy lawns need to be watered deeply and infrequently to force grass to grow roots and encourage it to propagate through rhizome growth.

While developing and promoting ?organic? lawn care product lines may be a ?gold mine? for lawn care companies and new upstarts, remember the gold is in your pocket! Buyer beware!


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