For most homeowners across the country, having a lush, green lawn ranks right up there with Sunday backyard barbecues, apple pie and baseball. Statistics show that American homeowners spend over $40 billion each year on sod, seed, fertilizers and pesticides to keep their lawns beautiful.
Much of the money spent on lawn care is spent on fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides to promote a green, healthy lawn. These products also promote strong root systems, stable plants and help to keep insects, pests and fungal diseases out of your lawn. Organic products provide these same benefits for your lawn with completely natural, organic ingredients. Is green lawn care a good alternative to traditional over-the-counter lawn products? The answer is yes, it’s a great option!
What is Green Lawn Care?
Green lawn care, or organic lawn care, is simply a way of maintaining a green, healthy lawn without the use of synthetic chemical ingredients. Going green doesn’t mean you have to give up a well-maintained lawn or put more time and effort into keeping your lawn looking good. It just means planting the right type of grass that will thrive in your climate conditions, proper watering and chemical-free plant products.
Organic lawn care promotes a healthy lawn with natural ingredients. Since fungi and insects love to prey on unhealthy, weak lawns, a strong, healthy lawn is essential to weed, disease and insect control. This means that grass is well-nourished so it grows thickly above-ground and deeply below-ground. Where a conventional lawn defends itself from diseases and pests with chemical treatments, green lawn care promotes a lawn with its own natural defenses.
How is Green Lawn Care Different?
The health of your lawn depends on four important factors: healthy soil, thick turf, proper planting and maintenance. Green lawn care helps to provide all of these components for your lawn.
Healthy soil supports healthy grass with the proper nutrients and adequate air and water. The structure of your soil plays an important role in producing strong plant roots for good growth and the amount of oxygen, water and nutrients that reach the grass. The soil must retain water long enough for your lawn to get what it needs, but it must also allow proper drainage so the roots get enough oxygen. Unfortunately, many Northern NJ homes have poor soil that’s too acidic or too compacted to promote a healthy lawn.
In older Bergen County neighborhoods, the lawn may have very compacted soil from years of lawn mowing, foot traffic, outdoor BBQ’s and kids and pets. In established neighborhoods, the soil may be very malnourished, but green lawn care can quickly improve the soil’s structure by adding organic nutrients.
Thick grass crowds out weeds. Aggressive weeds will take every opportunity to invade your lawn, crowding into any bare spot in the lawn they find. However, even the most aggressive weeds, like dandelions and foxtails, need adequate space and sunlight to grow. A healthy, thick lawn deprives them of both and makes it difficult for weeds to grow. Note that a thick lawn needs to be left a little longer, about putting-green height. If you mow your lawn too short, especially in summer heat, you’re inviting weeds into the lawn.
Thick grass also needs deep roots to stay green and healthy. They allow the grass to reach water for a long time after rainfall or watering which helps to protect the lawn from drought. Since grass and plants can only access soil nutrients that their roots reach, a healthy, deep root system allows grass to access more nutrients and reduces the need for fertilizers.
Unlike quick-release synthetic fertilizers that only provide mega-doses of nutrients near the soil’s surface, green lawn care encourages deep root systems that make it easier for your grass to reach essential nutrients.
One of the main reasons lawns need so many fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides is improper planting. Many lawns are planted without any knowledge or planning for climate conditions, so the type of grass is poorly matched to environmental conditions in the area. As a result, fertilizers get dumped on the lawn to compensate for what the environment doesn’t provide for the grass.
Relevant criteria for choosing the type of grass to plant is often color, cost, growing time and texture. For instance, you’ll often find Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass, zoysia and fescue planted in regions around the country where it doesn’t do well.
Green lawn care pays close attention to your specific climate, weather and environmental conditions. Since it promotes natural, organic grass growth, it’s essential to make sure that the right type of grass is planted to meet those specific conditions for optimal growing conditions.
What Do Green Lawn Care Services Include?
Regular Organic Lawn Maintenance
Just like any lawn, an organic lawn requires care and regular maintenance. Organic maintenance usually falls into two categories – regular lawn maintenance and seasonal lawn maintenance.
Regular green lawn care maintenance includes routine weekly procedures like mowing, watering and fertilizing. An organic lawn is typically mowed at a higher height – about three inches – which leaves larger grass-blades to perform photosynthesis, feeding the roots and shading the soil. It’s watered deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth for nutrients. Fertilizing often includes leaving grass clippings on the lawn, a natural way to provide nutrients to the soil.
The Optimum Organic Program
The Optimum Organic Program provides a balanced diet of NPk + 9 nutrients that promote strong, healthy root growth and improve the overall condition of your soil. The Optimum Organic Program includes the Basic Turf Program plus the following:
- Natural Aeration – Done twice each season, it improves the soil and puts essential oxygen and nutrients into the root zone.
- Root Stimulants and Developers – Applied periodically during season, they promote strong, deep roots for protection from drought, insects and disease.
- Natural Thatch Control – It provides 100% natural thatch digestion to stop new growth, but will not eliminate any existing thatch layer in your yard.
- Secondary Micro Nutrients – Applied three times during season, these essential nutrients are necessary to maintain a healthy lawn.
- Soil Test – A soil test is performed once every three years.
How Much Does Green Lawn Care Cost?
Organic Lawn Care and Gardening:
Today, many Northern NJ homeowners are concerned about energy conservation and green living, so green lawn care is a great alternative that successfully tackles these concerns. Natural aeration, root growth and weed control are promoted with the use of organic fertilizers, nutrients and soil conditioners. Organic herbicides and pesticides control pests and diseases with natural substances. Organic lawn care offers a safe, effective way to create and maintain a beautiful landscape and provide a healthy environment for your children and pets.
Landscape design costs in Bergen County can vary for green lawn care services based on the size of your property, your property’s existing condition and the professional landscape company you hire.
Good, regular maintenance should include Spring, Summer and Fall applications to keep your lawn, healthy and pest-free. Talk to a Bergen County landscape contractor who is knowledgeable and experienced in organic lawn care. Based on your needs, he can discuss services and prices that are right for your home.
Organic Tree and Shrub Care:
Your trees and shrubs can benefit from organic care with proper fertilization that’s essential for healthy trees, shrubs and plants. An organic deep-root fertilizer will add nutrients to your soil and promote plant growth and healthy root systems.
Trees and plants with healthy, stable root systems grow faster and they are less susceptible to insects, fungus and disease. They’re stronger to tolerate environmental stresses from intense sun and extreme cold. Services can include:
- Natural organic feeding
- Soil conditioning to promote deep root growth
- Deep feeding for trees and shrubs
- Disease and insect control
- Scale and mite control
- Insect control
- Winter protective treatments
- Tree and shrub pruning
Organic tree and shrub care will keep your trees and plants healthy, green and strong year-round, even through cold Bergen County winters. Regular maintenance should include spring, summer and fall care to keep your trees and shrubs chemical-free and pest-free.
A special organic pest management program provides regular inspections of your trees, shrubs and plants to check for insects and diseases, so appropriate treatments can be applied. Visits will include reports that let you know the condition of your trees and plants and what treatments are done.