New to natural, organic lawn care
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Author:  bsa [ Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:00 pm ]
Post subject:  New to natural, organic lawn care

My husband and I are pretty clueless about natural lawn care. We've used commercial companies on and off for several years, but would like to move to a more natural, organic way of maintaining our yard.
It is all very overwhelming to me! I'd like to know if there are companies in the DFW area that incorporate Howard's way of doing lawn care that we could work with and learn from as we move into this new way of lawn care.
I'd appreciate any help anyone could give.
Thank you,

Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New to natural, organic lawn care

Welcome to the dirt doctor site!

I would recommend spending time reading through the advice that is already in place on the site. From the home page look in the center for the green "Organic Advice" header (between "Howard Garrett" and "Features." Click on the guides, maintenance calendars, and the other items and read through. View some of the videos, view or read some of the features under that heading.

There is a lot to learn from those links and I think you'll find yourself going back to them for review once you adopt the organic practices promoted here. We also have a useful "Find A Store" link (found when you mouse over the "Products" tab) that will help you find vendors and services in your area.

Author:  user_48634 [ Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New to natural, organic lawn care

I can understand your being overwhelmed if you listen to Howard on the radio. He covers so much ground it is hard to filter out what YOU need from what everyone else needs. Maybe I can simplify it for you, because it really is pretty easy. For now, forget about all the dusts, powders, and juices; just concentrate on water, mowing, and fertilizer.

I've been on this forum since it started and on many other forums since before this one. I would venture to say that 80% of real problems stem from improper watering. Some people refuse to water their lawn, not because they are under restrictions, they just don't believe in watering a lawn. Well, the only solution for them is to water it, so we're stuck. Assuming you're not one of those people, the best way to water a lawn is deep and infrequent. Deep means one full inch all at one time. Many sprinkler installers want to demonstrate their timing systems so they will set it up to water for 10 minutes every day. That is exactly wrong. It needs to all go on at once. Infrequently means that you should allow the soil to go dry at the surface before watering again. In fact you can let the grass just start to wilt before watering again. In the hottest heat of summer, when the temps are in the 90s every day, you should be watering one day per week. With temps in the 80s (like now in South Texas), back off to once every 2 weeks. With temps in the 70s (now in North Texas), water once every 3 weeks. These are general guidelines but fairly accurate. There should never be a reason to water once a week in the cooler months. When you water like this you discourage weeds and encourage deep, drought resistant grass roots.

Mowing is fairly easy. For St Augustine, mulch mow at your mower's highest setting - ALWAYS. For bermuda, mow at the mower's lowest setting. Bermuda can get out of hand quickly in the spring, so you might need to mow that 2x or 3x per week.

Fertilizer: Organic! You can use Milorganite, Medina Growin' Green, or you can use the raw materials that go into most organic fertilizers. My preference this year has been to use alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow) from the feed store at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. You can use this as often as you like. For St Augustine as a minimum you should use it 3x per year. Those times are Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving (easy to remember). Since this is organic fertilizer you can also apply in early spring and mid summer if you like. If you have bermuda, that should be fertilized every month for best thickness and color.

That was a lot of words to say water deep and infrequent, mow weekly, and fertilize 3x per year. Easy.

Author:  bsa [ Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New to natural, organic lawn care

Thank you, David, for summarizing the basics of lawn care for us!
We do water on a regular basis because we have dogs (indoor), and we like for there to be grass not dirt/mud when they go outside. As well, we do some of our dog training in our backyard, so it's nice to have a cushion of grass underneath our feet. I don't know that we've ever measured how much water is dispersed each time we water, but we do water for a good 30-45 minutes in each zone. We should check that, though.
As to fertilizer, I don't think either of us have heard the suggested schedule you mention. That is very doable!
And thank you, too, to Northwesterner for your suggestions about doing a little bit of looking around the site to glean more info. As you can tell, I haven't been back here in a while; lot of time-consuming life has been happening and this research had to be put on hold. But things are slowing down, and we can give this some attention.
Again, thank you to both of you,

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