What is the difference between using chemical fertilizers on my lawn and organic ones? Are there really that many benefits to going organic? Laurie
Hi Laurie - There are a lot of reasons why all aspects of organic lawn care are better, but for now I will just tell you about the fertilizers.
Synthetic chemical fertilizers tend to contain a huge amount of nitrogen in order to keep the grass green, but only 35% of that actually reaches the grass roots. The rest leeches out into the soil and pollutes waterways. The 35% that does reach the roots is way more than the plant actually needs, and forces the grass to grow lush very rapidly. While this might sound great, it in fact puts a lot of stress on the grass plants and weakens them, allowing pests and diseases to enter your lawn. Then you are forced to use MORE chemicals on your lawn and you just open up a vicious cycle. The grass ends up looking worse and worse as the years wear on, as it simply cannot handle the onslaught of chemicals. Plus, if you continue to fertilize through the summer time when grasses are naturally trying to conserve their energy in the heat, you will only end up feeding the heat-loving summer weeds that are hiding in your lawn. And they LOVE to be fertilized!
Don't be fooled into believing the promises of those "Weed and Feed" products either; they contain toxic chemicals that are poisonous to anyone touching the lawn and they often don't even work like they say they should. Fertilizer (the "Feed" part) is intended for the whole lawn, but herbicides (the "Weed" part) are meant to be used as spot treatments for weed patches. When you use the combination of both mixed together, you are needlessly spreading poisons all over your lawn.
Organic fertilizers do not contain excess nitrogen; they provide slowrelease nitrogen that will feed the grass over time. Keeping the lawn clippings and mulching dead leaves into your lawn rather than bagging it all up also helps to grow a healthy lawn that can take care of itself in the long run.
The best thing you can do for your lawn is to build a healthy eco-system in the soil. Your first step is to test your lawn and find out what it actually needs. Our Organic Lawn Care Program can help you with this process. Call us any time!
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.