Organic Lawn Care
As more people become concerned about the environment, we are as well and are constantly looking for more ways to “go green” in our programs and services offered. Lawn care is no exception as request increase every year from customers asking about organic lawn care service.
Traditional synthetic fertilizer programs and organic programs differ in their approach to deliver nutrients to the lawn, but at the end-of-the-day a grass plant can not tell the difference between either approach. Organic programs differ as the focus is enriching the soil so that it can self support the life of your lawn, where as synthetic fertilizer programs spoon feeds your lawn with the direct nutrients.
We have developed a complete organic lawn care program and highly recommend a 3 year transition plan for anyone interested in switching from a traditional fertilizer program to a complete organic program. Please call our office and we will customize an organic plan based on your expectations, concerns and within your budget.
Organic Lawn Care – Typical Service Dates:*
Application #1 – Early March – Mid April
Application #2 – Early April – Early June
Application #3 (optional but recommended) – Early June – Late July
Application #4 – Mid July – Early September
* Weather conditions can alter the above schedule
Organic Lawn Care – FAQ’s
- Traditional Lawn Care
- Organic Lawn Care
- 1. When can I mow my lawn following a lawn care application?
It is best to wait 24 hours before mowing your lawn.
- 2. Should I water my lawn immediately following a lawn care application?
No, please allow at least 2 hours for the weed control products to work before watering. As for the fertilizer it is best if your lawn receives water from irrigation or rainfall within 14 days from a treatment.
- 3. When can I walk on my lawn following a lawn care application?
Please allow 2 hours for the weed control products to dry.
- 4. Is my lawn safe for my pets immediately following a lawn care application?
Please allow 2 hours for the weed control products to dry before pets return to the lawn. As a courtesy, our technicians will announce when they arrive and allow some time for your pets to be in the lawn before they begin the treatment.
- 5. How long does it take for weeds that are present at the time of an application to die?
During cooler weather conditions it may take up to two weeks and during the summer it may only be a couple of hours.
- 6. What happens if I get weeds in between lawn care applications?
We provide free service calls for customers that take our complete 6-treatment lawn care program. Simply call our office at (618) 233-7600 or send us an email to our Contact Form and we will schedule a technician to revisit your lawn and spray any weeds present.
- 7. Do you blow off excess fertilizer from sidewalks, patios, driveways and streets?
Yes, as a courtesy to you and to avoid tracking fertilizer in your home we always blow off excess fertilizer from sidewalks, patios, driveways and streets.
- 8. Do you apply fertilizer during the summer months?
For cool season grass varieties such as bluegrass and fescue the answer would be no, as fertilizing during the summer months can cause lawn diseases and can stress or burn a lawn. During the summer months, we apply weed control products (herbicides), fungicides, insecticides and organic type products which are safe during the summer months. As for warm season grass varieties such as zoysia or bermuda grass, it is just the opposite where it is best to apply fertilizer during the summer months and not during the months when the grass is dormant.
- 9. What is pre-emergent?
Pre-emergent controls annual weeds, such as crabgrass from germinating. This chemical barrier controls up to 90% of all weed seeds from germinating. This treatment is done typically in March and early April.
- 10. When is it too late to apply the pre-emergent application?
Annual weed seeds such as crabgrass will begin to germinate when the ground temperature reaches 55 degrees for at least 5 or more days in a row. Typically, this occurs in our area around the 2nd week in April. We monitor the ground temperatures very closely in the spring and when the temperatures reach 55 degrees we switch to a post-emergent treatment for control of annual weeds.
- 11. What can be done if I miss the pre-emergent application?
Depending on the time of the year, we will either control annual weeds with a post-emergent herbicide or control the weeds in their post state after they have emerged.
- 12. What are better, liquid treatments or granular treatments?
Provided that the liquid product is mixed and agitated well per manufacturer recommendations or the granular product is applied at the correct lbs per 1k sq-ft, both are effective and can provide the same results. At TurfGator we have the capabilities to provide both liquid or granular treatments and our technicians will make the best choice in the type of treatment based on your lawns size, terrain and the needs of your lawn at the time of service.
- 13. How often do you come out for lawn care applications?
Our program is a complete 7-step lawn care program running from early March through early December. After the first application is applied, you can expect the next treatments to be scheduled approximately every 4 - 6 weeks.
- 14. Why are multiple applications required to control weeds?
Most weeds within a lawn are characterized as broadleaf weeds and pre-emergent herbicides do not control these types of weeds. Broadleaf weeds germinate at different times during the year and our complete 7-step lawn care program effectively controls these weeds as they germinate and as they are actively growing.
- 15. What is that light colored grass that grows twice as fast and tall as the rest of my lawn?
The proper name is Yellow Nutsedge, but it is also referred to by many homeowners as water grass or nut grass. Yellow Nutsedge is easily identified with its distinctive triangular shaped stem and v-shaped leaves. The leaves also have a waxy covering.
- 16. Why does my lawn continually get yellow nutsedge every year?
Yellow Nutsedge typically grows in areas that are poorly drained and likes full sunshine. Yellow Nutsedge can be very difficult to completely eradicate. Most products on the market are labeled to only control, manage, restrain or suppress nutsedge by putting it into stress and stopping its growth for the particular growing season and there are no pre-emergent products that can prevent it from germinating. With recent advancements in post-emergent herbicides there now is a product labeled for eradication of Yellow Nutsedge. To discuss your options, please call our office at (618) 233-7600.
- 17. I heard that you are never supposed to pull nutsedge by hand, why?
Yellow Nutsedge has a fibrous root system that develops underground rhizomes with multiple tubers or nutlets at the end of each rhizomes. Each tuber has the ability to produce a new plant, and it is impossible to pull nutsedge out of the ground with its complete root system. Therefore, in pulling the plant out of the ground the root system breaks and each tuber will produce a new plant. It is common for every one plant pulled by hand, another 10 more could sprout up and grow back.
- 18. How can I tell if my lawn is dead or just dormant in the hot summer months?
If the grass plant just turns brown, but is still standing, it is more than likely just dormant. Minimize foot traffic on dormant areas as this will further stress the grass plant. If the grass plant is brown and is also lying flat to the ground, then it is dead and time to consider seeding during the fall.
- 19. When is the best time of the day to water my lawn with a sprinkler system?
Early morning is the best as evaporation will be less than in the afternoon. Evening watering is discouraged as it can lead to lawn diseases. The 150 rule is when day temperatures and humidity added together equal 150, which is a rule of thumb that your lawn is most susceptible to lawn diseases and water on the grass plant overnight from a sprinkler system acts like a catalyst to start a disease. The summer of 2010 had a tremendous amount of rain storms that happened during the evening followed by high day temperatures and humidity, resulting in the highest amount of observed lawn diseases throughout the area in many years.
- 20. Why do I always get weeds along edges such as sidewalks, driveways and streets?
The pre-emergent barrier applied to your lawn in early spring is typically broken due to weed eaters and edgers. Also weeds need sunlight to germinate and again weed eaters and edgers expose bare dirt allowing weeds to grow. In addition, concrete tends to heat the soil along edges to warmer temperatures, compared to the rest of the lawn, which is ideal conditions for certain weeds to germinate and begin growing.
- 21. What can I do to get rid of mushrooms?
Sorry, no products available here so your only option is leaving them, stepping on them or mowing them over. If your son likes to play golf like mine, send him out with a 7 iron and tee them up. Mushrooms are unsightly, but also a good sign. Mushrooms need organic soil to grow, among other things, so having mushrooms within the lawn is an easy way to tell if the lawn has good organic matter.
- 22. Are weeds within my landscape bed areas included in my lawn care program?
- 23. Are your products safe for pets?
- 24. What is thatch and what is an acceptable amount to have in a lawn?
Thatch is the grass plant's roots growing above ground level and an acceptable amount is ½ inch or less. If you mow your lawn and return the clippings to the lawn which is preferred those clippings will collect in the thatch layer but will decompose and most research has determined that clippings don't contribute to an excess thatch layer. The problem with thatch is if it gets too thick it can prevent water from soaking into the ground and prevent sufficient oxygen for the root system to grow. When thatch levels exceed ½ inch, we recommend aerating your lawn as it provides more benefits and is less destructive than a dethatcher.
- 1. What is the difference between traditional lawn care and organic lawn care?
A traditional lawn care program has scheduled treatments of fertilizer blends of nitrogen and potassium to feed your lawn where an organic lawn care program enriches the soil thus naturally creating the same nutrients for the grass plant. The grass plant can't differentiate between synthetic fertilizers or an organic program so both are effective programs provided they are scheduled and balanced properly. For more information about the differences, please visit our more extensive blog by clicking here.
- 2. Will weed control still be used during organic lawn care applications?
A true organic lawn care program would not typically consist of herbicide (weed control) products; however, we are able to formulate a mixed program consisting of both organic fertilizer and herbicides for pesky weeds. For most customers on this "mixed" program, they would receive the synthetic fertilizer & pre-emergent with herbicide during treatment #1, then organic fertilizer and herbicide for treatments #2, #3 and #4.