Organic Gardening Supplies: Fertilizers, Pest and Weed Control, Lawn Care

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Organic Lawn Care Guide

This guide is for cool-season grasses, typically consisting of tall fescues, perennial ryegrasses, and kentucky bluegrass. This program is what we use here in the New Hampshire seacoast. However, with only a little tweaking for differing seasons, the basic program can be adapted for lawns (including warm-season grasses) in any region of the US. Write us at info@extremelygreen.com  if you have questions.
For your convenience, we've combined the recommendations below as complete annual organic lawncare programs . Just figure out the square footage of your lawn, place your order, and we'll ship you the products you need at just the right time of season.
For some background information about organic lawn care see this
article by Paul Sachs or read Dave Daehnke's
Organic Lawn Care Manual.
Need help with spreader settings? See our 
guide to choosing and using a spreader.

Calendar Lawncare event Recommendation Explanation
Any time during growing season Soil test

Get to know your soil. We offer a range of convenient soil tests which come with a pre-paid box addressed to our testing service. You get an informative report and organic recommendations for your soil.

We recommend this as a starting point. Typically the test indicates the acidity (pH), the presence of main nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), micronutrients, and organic matter. It'll point out any important deficiences, which you can then take steps to correct.

If the soil test indicates low organic activity in your soil (fairly common with sandy soil), you can top-dress with 1/4 inches of compost end the beginning and end of the season. You can also use Nature's Turf (8-1-9)  to promote your soil life.

Healthy soil requires lots of biological activity in the form of earthworms and microorganisms. Biological activity requires adequate organic matter to flourish.
Early spring Clean-up and aeration After the ground has thawed and dried out (or in the south is breaking out of its winter dormancy), rake winter debris off the lawn. Then aerate your lawn. You can use a machine or, at a fraction of the cost, use spiked clogs (wear them when you apply the spring application of organic herbicide). Aeration helps to alleviate the compaction caused by winter snows and gravity. The soil gets an injection of oxygen, which promotes activity in soil organisms and helps subsequent fertilizations penetrate deeper to root systems.
Early spring Apply organic herbicide Apply WeedBan at 20 lbs per 1,000 sq.ft. Apply when the forsythia or daffodils (bulbs away from the house) start to bloom. For easy application, check out our EarthWay lawn spreaders .

Weedban is made from corn gluten meal - currently the only proven pre-emergent organic herbicide.

Early-Late spring Apply complete organic fertilizer

Apply Pro-Gro 5-3-4 at 20 lbs per 1,000 sq.ft (approximately 3 weeks after the WeedBan). Alternatively, you apply Nature's Turf (8-1-9) 5 or 6 weeks later. Note: Nature's Turf is new product with which we had excellent test results in 2001.

These products are probably the best blended organic fertilizers available. Extremely Green uses these products exclusively for all its lawn care customers.
Early spring - thru fall Routine mowing

Mow at a cutting height of at least 3 inches. Exception: last several cuts of the season, start cutting lower (down to 1 inch for perennial ryegrass and fine fescue, 2 inches for kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue).

Mulch-cut and leave clippings on lawn. Exception: last cut of season; bag the clippings.

Keep your blade(s) sharp. See our
sharpening tool.

Extensive research has shown that cutting high has many benefits for the organic lawn. Many weeds are simply choked out. Root systems develop to provide drought-resistance and hardiness. Insect and disease problems are minimized.

Grass clippings are a great source of nitrogen and, contrary to rumors, do not contribute to thatch in an organic lawn.

Sharp blades mean clean cuts and fewer openings for disease and insect infestations.

Early summer and when needed Apply bio-stimulant to build tough, resistant plants Apply Stress-X (a liquid seaweed from concentrate). One 10 gram packet covers 1,500 sq.ft. This is a very inexpensive product and your lawn will benefit from additional repeat applications, especially in times of heat or drought stress. For easy application, check out our sprayers . Stress-X stimulates plant growth through naturally-occurring growth hormones. Reduces chances of disease and builds drought-resistance. To learn more about biostimulants, read this article.
Early summer (heavy feeders only) Booster fertilizer for heavy feeders (Kentucky Blue Grass) and lawns in parts of US with a longer growing season. Where appropriate, apply a second application of Nature's Turf (8-1-9)  or  Pro-Booster 10-0-0 at 20 lbs per 1,000 sq.ft.  
Early-mid fall Apply winterizing organic fertilizer Apply Pro-Start 2-3-3 at 20 lbs per 1,000 sq.ft. Alternatively, you can also apply a third application of Nature's Turf (8-1-9) if you want to simply your program. You can apply this last application of fertilizer from the beginning of September through early November in the northern and eastern US. Probably the most important application of the entire season. A winterizing fertilizer concentrates below the soil, strengthening root systems and developing plant hardiness. It prepares your lawn for the start of the next growing season.
Mid-late fall Apply lime (if indicated by soil test). To maintain an ideal pH level of 6.5 - 6.7, typically apply 30 lbs of pelletized lime per 1,000 sq.ft. Pelletized lime costs a little more but is easier to apply than powder. Note: If a soil test indicates that your soil is already high in magnesium, you will need to use either Calcium Limestone Flour or Aragonite instead of dolomitic limestone. In the eastern seaboard of the US, liming is usually routine because soils tend to become acid. Your soil test will indicate how much lime to apply.
Late fall Final clean-up Reduce your cutting height for the final mowings, according to our recommendations above. Remove remaining leaves from lawn, or just attach a bagger to your mower, chop them up, and add them to your compost pile.