So you’re interested in maintaining your lawn organically but don’t know how to choose an organic lawn care company? Take a look at a few of these helpful tips.
How to select an organic lawn care service provider.
Organic lawn care should inherently come with an understanding of expectations. It’s imperative that your lawn care company be clear about the results that you will see and how they plan to achieve those results. For example, organic fertilizers are designed to improve the foundation of the soil, which means that it boosts the entire ecosystem (as opposed to chemically and superficially feeding just the plant). Therefore, you’ll continue to see long term gains by fostering root growth instead of leaf growth.
Also, organic lawn services don’t advocate for 100% weed free lawns, it’s not natural and even with chemicals it’s virtually impossible. That said, by following strict mowing and water practices, your organic lawn care maintenance team can create an environment that naturally smothers unwanted weeds without using harsh chemicals.
You wouldn’t want someone performing surgery on you without being a surgeon right? The same goes with lawn care maintenance. Be sure that the technicians know what they’re spraying on your lawn- down to the main ingredients. If they don’t know, if they can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not healthy for you or your loved ones. Better safe than sorry.
Gentle Pest Services
While organic lawn care service in general doesn’t view pests as being a huge concern in the health of your lawn, it’s understood that they can be somewhat of a nuisance if not controlled. Sorry to bust your bubble, but the best way to keep pest populations in check is to allow nature to take its course. By using chemical pesticides, you’re eradicating unwanted and beneficial insects/weeds. This grants future generations’ immunity to the chemicals, subsequently requiring frequent and greater applications.
If you are determined to use some sort of application to rid your lawn of unwanted pests, be sure that the organic lawn care company you employ uses only organic or natural (non-synthetic) pesticide treatments. You should always consider following the gentle approach.
Best Mowing Practices & Watering Techniques
When choosing an organic lawn care service, be sure to ask the technician about their mowing practices and watering recommendations. Just as hair salon artists say that if you want your hair to grow faster and healthier, you should trim it regularly, the same principle applies to grass. It is well-known practice within the industry that you should always mow your grass tall and with sharp blades! Doing so has many benefits, including shading the soil below so more water is conserved and weed germinations aren’t exposed to sunlight. It’s also important because it helps the grass blade utilize its surface area, allowing greater photosynthesis.
While you may hate to see leftover clippings strewn about your lawn, letting the grass clippings naturally feed nitrogen back into the soil is one of the easiest ways to cultivate a healthy lawn. Not to mention that if your lawn care technicians bag up the clippings in plastic, they’ll end up in a landfill somewhere.
There are several suggestions that your technician can give you to supplement the maintenance provided with the organic treatment program. As far as watering goes, you should be encouraged to watering deeply (6-8 inches) and infrequently (weekly). This will saturate the soil so that the roots must stretch and grow to reach the water and nutrients below. Another tip: Don’t water your lawn midday – the moisture will be lost to evaporation – and be careful about watering in the evening because damp, dark soil can develop diseases more easily. Your best bet is bright and early in the morning.
Soil Tests & Climate Knowledge
It’s very important that the team working on your lawn knows exactly how to treat problem areas. The best way to ensure proper care is by conducting a soil test before any work is done. This will give them an idea of your lawn’s nutrient levels, pH, etc. From there they will be able to accurately decide the best course of action for the rehabilitation (or preservation) of your lawn.
Obviously it’s imperative that whoever works on your lawn be knowledgeable about your region’s climate and understands the best grass type for your area; otherwise you might waste a lot of water trying to grow a plant that will inevitably die. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either. It’s good for you to know what grass is appropriate as well.
Believe it or not (and we won’t name names here) there are lawn care companies out there that “offer” organic treatments but ask their employees to encourage consumers not to use them. This ensures that these companies won’t be put out of business by the growing demand for truly sustainable and organic lawn care services. It’s a brilliant (but very irresponsible) smoke & mirror routine that is designed to make customers believe that the use of pesticides, gas powered equipment, and chemicals is still OK.
If a lawn care company offers organics but uses the excuse that organics are more expensive, it’s probably best to avoid them as they’re just trying to push you toward chemical use. Over time, organic treatments will save you money by off-putting the amount of maintenance required. Inputs are greatly reduced after a lawn has been rehabilitated organically.
Another red flag: If a lawn care company claims that their treatment program is “reviewed” for health and safety without actually providing evidence that it’s harmless, it’s not guaranteed safe. Steer clear of them.
Expect, no, demand transparency from your organic lawn care service technician. If they can’t tell you what ingredients are in their organic fertilizer, the right grass for your region, the pH of your soil, or what an organic lawn care program even entails, find a new company to work with. The safety of your family is at risk when you hire people who don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re spraying on the area where your children and pets play. If you find yourself in a jam, just utilize your common sense and remember – better safe than sorry.