Monthly Archives: March 2017

Organic Lawn Care Schedule

I have been attempting to perfect my organic lawn care schedule for the past three or so years. Here is my plan for 2017.  My lawn is 5000sq feet.

April:  Corn Gluten Meal for weed suppression, before the forsythias bloom. Temps should be about 60.  I’m going to use Safe’N Simple Pre-emergence Weed Control 9-0-0.  It sells for $50 for 50lbs.  Apply 20lbs per 1000sq feet. (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 16)
* Week 1: Lime/Sulfur:   Lime RAISES PH and Sulfur LOWERS PH.  A good indicator that you have high PH is dandelions.  If you have low PH, you should see a lot of clover.  I don’t mind the clover, but dandelions need to go. (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 5)

* Week 2: Fertilizer  (Milorganite: Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 11.5 or Espoma Organic: 6)

* GrubEx: (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 3.5) [Note, not organic but have not had success with Milky Spore]

* Fertilizer  (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 11.5)
* Fertilizer  (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 11.5)
* Last week, Aerate
* Fertilizer  (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 11.5)
* Seed
* Fertilizer  (Scotts SpeedyGreen 2000 setting: 11.5)

For fertilizer, I have been using Milorganite which can be found at Home Depot and they claim it’s organic.  As shown above, it’s applied four times a year.

For grub control, I’m trying milky spore.  Unfortunately I’m not 100% sure what type of grub I have so I don’t think it’s working that well.  I’m tempted to just use regular grub control, but afraid that it will nuke everything I’m trying to do.

Update July 2017: Milky spore did not work and most of my grass in my problem section has turned brown. I also have cone shaped holes in that area so obviously our local critters know there are grubs there too. Unfortunately, I really can’t take it and have applied Scotts GrubEx. I don’t know any other way around this issue.

For seed, I’m using a tall fescue variety.  I found that putting a very thin layer of compost/soil on top of the seed is the key to having it germinate.

For Fall cleanup, I’m not raking my leaves and simply mulching them into the lawn using the mower.  This gives me “free compost” which I help builds the strength of the lawn.

For watering, I’m changing my schedule so that I do one deep water once a week.  I was watering every other day for 10-15 minutes, but that actually encourages weed growth.  A deep soaking forces the grass to dig deeper roots rather than bathing shallow weeds.

For ad hoc weed control, I mix up 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1 cup of salt and a 2 tablespoons of dish soap.  I walk around the yard spraying this on any dandelions.  It works really well as long as you keep up with it.  Be sure to spray it on a dry day so it has a chance to dry onto the weed.

For seed patching in the Spring, I star with a 5 gallon bucket.  I mix 1/3 top soil, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost/manure, 2 cups of grass seeds and some organic fertilizer.  Mix that very well and having two buckets to transfer/mix helps.  You should have about 20 seeds per square inch (approximate by taking and counting in the palm of your hand).  Apply to dead areas by raking the bar spot to expose the soil (no thatch, leaves, etc should be present).  Apply a 1/4 inch layer of your seed patch mix on top.  Stamp down with your foot and water daily for at least a week.  I like to do this right before I see a rainy week of weather.