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flower and fruit gardening guides home > organic weed control

Organic weed control and your lawn

There?s something completely satisfying about looking over the green expanse we call our lawns.
Organic weed control keeps that stretch of turf relatively undisturbed in a natural way. Not only
a safe and effective method of controlling weeds, organic weed control is also an affordable
alternative to commercial herbicides.

Take a close look at your lawn and see that beneath the grassm there is a vibrant, robust colony
of life. Besides insects and earthworms that live in our lawns, billions of microscopic creatures
keep busy helping our lawns to thrive. Organic weed control helps these little critters who work
to keep your lawn and your soil healthy.

The first step in natural weed control, as in any organic gardening, is to get to know your soil.
Begin by having your county extension agent or lawn care professional do a soil test. The soil
test provides information on pH, the presence of nutrients, and organic matter already in the
soil. This information helps you pinpoint areas that need improvement.

The organic gardener?s job in lawn weed control is to replenish the elements that unnatural
practices take out of the soil. In other words, in organic weed control, you don?t treat the
symptoms; instead you affect the cure and then apply preventative natural weed control measures to
stop problems from re-occurring.

Improving the health of your lawn helps your grass to compete against invasive weeds. Of course
there?s nothing to keep you from helping it by pulling a visible intruder by hand. Another way to
control weeds naturally is simply to rake your lawn after mowing. Grass clippings compact into
thatch, which interferes with life-giving water reaching the roots of your grass. Save removed
thatch for your compost pile. Instead of hurting your lawn, it will be a source of nutrition for
your grass. If raking isn?t your bag, invest in a lawn mower that has a bag or a mulching mower.

Aerate your lawn annually. Aeration breaks up the clumps in your lawn, providing air circulation
to grass roots moisture retention for your soil. Aerations machines are available for rent or sale
at many garden supply houses. Hand aerators are also available. Even walking your lawn in a pair
of spiked shoes (like football or golf shoes) will complete a partial aeration. Aeration can be
done anytime, but if completed in the spring, it will alleviate the compaction of frost and snow
and give your lawn a breath of fresh spring air.

Set your mower at a height of at least three inches until the last cut in the fall. Allowing your
grass to grow a bit taller will help it choke out new weeds. It will also help preserve moisture
and permit your grass to expend its energy in establishing good roots. Keep your blade sharp. A
sharp mower blade gives a clean cut that reduces the possibility of diseases and insect
infestations.
Remember, keeping your lawn healthy is the best way to practice organic weed control.

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