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Old 03-12-2008, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,783,237 times
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Has anyone ever had much experience with organic lawn care- fertilizer and weed control?

I had an organic company come last season and spray four times and during the spring I sprayed dandelions with vinegar (which kind of worked). I'm kicking around the idea of doing it myself this year, as I found a place that sells corn gluten fairly cheap.

The company didn't do a bad job by any means. I realize that treating it organically will take a few years before it's really in shape. I still may end up going with them again this year.

Anyone here have any advice/pointers for someone thinking about going organic on their own? The fertilizer part shouldn't be hard, just getting something that does a good job on the weeds will be the tricky part. I've only lived here for one season and I had a TON of dandelions in the spring and a decent amount of clover/ground ivy. I aerated the lawn in the fall, I'm planning aerating it again and overseeding it next fall in order to thicken it up, I know that's the best way to keep weeds out.
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,194 posts, read 25,448,474 times
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I sounds like you've already done research, but here's a site that might help with making some decisions of going alone:

Organic lawn care guide

Several of their suggestions made quite a bit of sense to me as I have too much lawn. We are still in snow season so my actions on changing some of it will have to wait at least a month or more (in fact it just started snowing again. )
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:25 AM
 
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If you want organic and cheap--really cheap, try a book called Jerry Bakers Green Grass Magic. He uses all kinds of things--beer, soda, eggshells. I used his book extensively when I had a grass lawn in Utah. Although it wasn't perfect, it really cleaned up my front yard, and the grass was much healthier and greener. I liked using non-chemicals; I have a Golden Retriever that's very allergic to most chemicals.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:07 AM
 
Location: S.E. US
13,169 posts, read 108,673 times
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Environmentally Responsible Gardening Products that Work – GardensAlive.com
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:31 AM
 
15,247 posts, read 17,806,813 times
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I'm not sure how big your yard is, but we just pull up the dandelions. Sometimes you need a hoe, but it's really not that hard. Also, in the 8 years we've been in our house we've never fertilized and the grass looks about 95% as good as the neighbors who fertilize yearly. We don't bag the grass when we mow but leave it and it decomposes in no time. We also don't rake the leaves unless they're blowing in the neighbors' yards and that adds back nutrients. Also, we don't water until the grass looks limp.

It's never made sense to me to fertilize and water the grass so with the result being that you have to cut it more often.

You might try going without any fertilizer or weed treatment at all for a year and see what you think.
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,783,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlow View Post
I'm not sure how big your yard is, but we just pull up the dandelions. Sometimes you need a hoe, but it's really not that hard. Also, in the 8 years we've been in our house we've never fertilized and the grass looks about 95% as good as the neighbors who fertilize yearly. We don't bag the grass when we mow but leave it and it decomposes in no time. We also don't rake the leaves unless they're blowing in the neighbors' yards and that adds back nutrients. Also, we don't water until the grass looks limp.

It's never made sense to me to fertilize and water the grass so with the result being that you have to cut it more often.

You might try going without any fertilizer or weed treatment at all for a year and see what you think.
Hmmm.... A decent fertilizer does help to make the lawn thicker, that's been proven. I'm not sure how many leaves you get in your yard, but my front yard gets completely covered as I've got a big maple and an ash tree. If I were to leave those on the ground over the winter, I'd get nothing but mold problems, bare spots and thatch problems. If you don't really get too many leaves in your yard, I'm sure it won't hurt much to not rake.


Anyways, thanks for the suggestions everyone.
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:53 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,916,637 times
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I have had a few people tell me that manure tea is the best thing they ever did for their garden. Here is the info on the special brew:

Manure Tea
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:41 PM
 
15,247 posts, read 17,806,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Rhino View Post
Hmmm.... A decent fertilizer does help to make the lawn thicker, that's been proven. I'm not sure how many leaves you get in your yard, but my front yard gets completely covered as I've got a big maple and an ash tree. If I were to leave those on the ground over the winter, I'd get nothing but mold problems, bare spots and thatch problems. If you don't really get too many leaves in your yard, I'm sure it won't hurt much to not rake.


Anyways, thanks for the suggestions everyone.
You're in Iowa and I'm in S. Texas so who knows what differences there are...I do know that my tomato plants are blooming.

Anyway, I guess the gist of my suggestion is to try to do the bare minimum of things to your lawn and see what you get. It might surprise you by looking pretty good with very little care. And less is always more when it comes to even organic sources of nitrogen, etc.
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,783,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlow View Post
You're in Iowa and I'm in S. Texas so who knows what differences there are...I do know that my tomato plants are blooming.

Anyway, I guess the gist of my suggestion is to try to do the bare minimum of things to your lawn and see what you get. It might surprise you by looking pretty good with very little care. And less is always more when it comes to even organic sources of nitrogen, etc.
Your tomato plants are blooming already? We just had most of our snow melt, so we've still got aways to go.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:34 AM
 
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Yes, the tomatoes are blooming now. But they'll probably be finished by July. They won't set fruit when the average daily temperature climbs above 90.

Sorry for the hijack.
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