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Email Post to a Friend: How You Can Have An Organic Lawn

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If you want a healthy, eco-friendly lawn, then make sure you follow these tips.

Even homeowners committed to an organic lifestyle may balk at the challenges of creating an organic lawn. The good news for you, now settling in the house you chose from Sioux Falls homes for sale, is that going organic with your lawn has become more doable in recent years. Knowledge of organic practices is spreading, and you can now find organic or native grasses that will prosper without synthetic chemicals.

Our real estate agents have some advice for those homeowners aiming for a nice-looking lawn but doing it without earth-damaging chemicals. Here are some tips for breaking your lawn's addiction to synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.

  1. Choose the right kind of grass.
    The conditions in your yard will determine what type of grass you should plant. How much shade do you have? How alkaline is your soil? Is there heavy traffic in your yard? Once you answer these questions, talk to a turf professional about the type of grass you should plant. Some of the choices: Kentucky bluegrass, generally considered number one for Sioux Falls lawns, is slow to germinate, but once it does, it spreads; Fine Fescues are good to mix with Kentucky bluegrasses in shady areas — they add disease resistance when mixed with other grasses; and Perennial ryegrass, which blends well with other grasses, and germinates and gets established quickly. 
    You'll need fewer chemical amendments if you're growing the right grass in the right spot.

  2. Get a soil test.
    You will want to know what nutrients your soil is missing so you can amend it organically for the type of grass you're growing. For instance, if your soil is deficient in calcium, you can add gypsum; if it's low in magnesium, you might add the mineral langbeinite. 
    Take samples in several areas of the lawn, about 2 cups total. Mail your soil sample (do a Google search for soil testers in our area) and ask about what amendments you need. Get ready to apply amendments by doing the following: mow the grass to a height of about 2 inches; pull up weeds; remove thatch, the dead grass and roots on the surface; and rent a power aerator to thoroughly aerate the soil.

  3. Add compost.
    Compost is one of the best amendments you can add to your soil. Whether you buy it in a bag or make it yourself in your own compost pile, the nutrients will contribute to a healthy lawn. If you want to be purely organic, make sure you don't put any non-organic ingredients into your homemade compost.

  4. Fertilize regularly.
    In addition to compost, you will need to administer organic fertilizer regularly — preferably in the spring and fall. Your best bet for organic lawn fertilizer should have seaweed for potassium, feather meal for nitrogen, and bone meal for phosphorous. Organic fertilizers will release nutrients much more slowly than synthetic fertilizers so that the grass can absorb them more thoroughly.

  5. Overseed to crowd out weeds.
    Overseed your lawn, or replace it completely with native or organic grass seed. Ask your nursery if they have this as it's still rather new on the market, but if not, order it through the mail. You may find a seed mix for sun, one for shade, and then another with clover, which will give your yard a nice dose of nitrogen. The grass seed will contribute to thicker grass that will help crowd out weeds so that you don't need synthetic herbicides.

Now that we've got your lawn squared away, do you have questions about buying or selling a home? Contact us today.