Spring lawn prep is easy. Clear things out a bit and put down some fertilizer and a great weed-killing mix. Wait for spring rains and…one-two-three, done. Right?
Except if you’re an organic gardener. If you are, what do you do? What fertilizer should you use, and if it’s a natural preparation, is its application different from commercial grade soils? And what about those weeds?
It’s actually easy to prepare your lawn for spring growth – without using chemicals or less-than-natural methods. Follow these steps for a happy, stress-free and beautiful lawn this year.
Perform a Thorough Cleanup
If you live in an area with high winds, winter storms or periodic rain, it’s likely that your lawn has accumulated a fair amount of debris these past few months. This can be particularly true in winter, when dormancy of the grass means you may not be mowing frequently (or at all), so you’re not giving your lawn a weekly “once-over” the way you’ll be doing for the remainder of the year.
Pick a reasonably nice day and go over your lawn and remove fallen twigs and branches. Rake the last of last year’s wet fall leaves (tip: collect these for your compost heap). If things are a bit drier, use a blower to clear away lightweight debris.
Trim Trees and Bushes
If you’ve pruned during their correct season, it’s unlikely that your trees or hedges will be overgrown during the early spring. On the other hand, if it’s been a while since you climbed the ladder to get at tall growth, now is a good time to cut back.
DON’T overprune (if you’re not sure when to prune a specific variety v, just doing a little trimming, ask your local nursery). At this point, your goal is to cut broken or dead (not dormant) growth so it won’t fall into the yard or allow for disease to enter the tree during warming spring.
Apply Fertilizer and Organic Weed Killer
We recommend homemade compost for fertilizer. If you prefer to go with a commercial variety, go as organic as possible with your selection.
At the same time they fertilize, most lawn-owners will also want to put down some weed killer. (In fact, many chemical fertilizer and lawn prep materials already contain this.) Because you’re an organic gardener, you almost certainly wish to avoid these measures, but it’s a given that home-cured/crafted compost can contain a few blown weed seeds no matter how careful you are. What to do?
Try some chemical-free, homemade weed killer (here are some great ideas). Better yet, in the first few weeks of spring, nix the herbicides altogether and pull weeds as they come up so you not only rid the lawn of the weeds but of the seeds they’d otherwise have released.
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f you’re new to gardening you might have some great idea of what gardening is in your head. But there are some cold hard truths about gardening that you should know and accept with all your heart if you wish to become a true-bloodied gardening aficionado.