All Winter you have committed yourself to buy fruits and vegetables from the organic section at Big Y, and possibly even switched to homeopathic herbal remedies over some prescription medications. All this in a high-cost effort to live more “naturally”, or to reduce your carbon footprint. Now that Spring has arrived, it’s time to consider organic options for your Lawn, and quantify their effectiveness. But before you jump into your local Agway searching for Corn Gluten Meal and Vinegar based weed products, let’s discover some truths and myths about the two options you have available for yard maintenance.
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Myth: All Pesticides Cause Cancer
Truth: In a recent lawsuit of the manufacturer of “Round-Up” weed killer, Montansanto Inc., it was discovered that there was a sufficient correlation between one farmer’s cancer diagnosis and his heavy use of the product on crops. This case was recently overturned and the EPA has since documented that Round-Up definitively does not cause cancer. Also, this lawsuit never applied to controlled products use by licensed lawn professionals.
Myth: Vinegar or Baking Soda Kills Weeds as Well As Chemicals
Truth: Baking Soda acts as a desiccant, which means it dries out plant parts to their death. While on the other hand, the active ingredient in Vinegar, Acetic Acid, kills plants & grasses by causing a deadly pH acid balance. These two methods are effective at killing most small weeds and some insects, when used at high concentrations, but do not offer any long term effect beyond the time of application. Additionally, these methods are non-selective and will kill your desirable grass and plants as well.
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Myth: Dish Soap on Grass Kills Insects
Truth: This one we won’t actually debunk, but rather dissuade you from using. While dish soap can dry into a film that smothers and suffocates insects, it would need to be applied directly to the insect to work. Also, household dish sold contains dyes, phosphate, and bleach; the prime example of chemicals you would want to avoid using with an “Organic Approach” to your Lawn Care.
Insecticidal Soaps are naturally derived from Pottasium salts, which are more effective, and less harmful to plants and grasses. These products are pest specific and need to be applied at the right time and using the right method to be effective.
Myth: Beer & Soda Are Natural Fertilizers
Truth: Let’s first understand the basis behind this idea. First, beer contains carbohydrates and yeast, that are thought to benefit lawn soil. Lastly, the carbonation in soda is thought to provide macronutrients, such a Nitrogen & Oxygen to soil and plants.
Beer may prove beneficial for soil but doesn’t contain any macronutrients directly needed for grass shoot development and greening. Also, pouring even some cheap Natty Ice on your lawn could get expensive, There are many affordable, more effective organic options than this. Soda, on the other hand, is just a bad idea outright. The high sugar content will negate any beneficial properties that this may theoretically provide.
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Organic Lawn Care Methods That Work
The paradox of effective Organic Lawn Care is akin to having a healthy body. A perfect diet is nice, but proper muscle conditioning always generates the most reliable results. In the lawn care arena, beating pests and disease means an exhaustive routine of cultural and mechanical methods. Most of which can become too exhaust for most homeowners to maintain.
Start With The Soil: Soil is usually unseen, therefore most don’t pay enough attention to its impact and grass growth and weed development. Mechanical methods of care include aeration to reduce compaction & dethatching to reduce pest breeding thatch. Also, adjusting your soil’s pH with Lime or Sulfur will dramatically improve weed tolerance and green growth.
Proper Grass Selection: The assumption that any cheap grass seed will work in your lawn is what really makes weeds flock to your yard like “Snowbirds” to the Shoreline in Summer. Properly selecting seed varieties to your soil type, shade/sun cover, and slope layout will provide your turf with higher drought and weed resistance.
Mechanical Weed Control: This is what separates the truly devoted from the ‘fly-by-nighters”. Hand-picking weeds is the time-tested most effective way to control further spread and invasion. This must be done when the weeds are still young and done often. Also using fresh mulch to cover garden beds will suffocate weeds and provide some relief from hand-picking.
Hiring a Professional: It’s always a last resort to hire a professional service to perform these tasks you have been so invested in, financially and emotionally. Organic Lawn Care takes a lot of resources, precise timing, and specialty products. Sometimes hiring the right Organic Lawn Care Service Near You not only helps relieve some of the burdens, but it can yield more tangible results.
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