Strategies for Converting to Organic Lawn Care?

leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)April 24, 2009

We moved into our new home mid-winter, and I know that the previous owner had a contract with one of those chem-lawn kinds of companies. I'm wondering what to expect and what to do now that there are no more chemicals in use.

I've always been an organic gardener-- but I don't have experience at organically maintaining a big hunk of lawn, or at converting a lawn that has had chemicals on it--my previous lawns were old abandoned properties where there hadn't been any lawn care in years.

I don't want the zillions of dandelions that one next-door neighbor has, but I'm assuming that now that there are no chemicals going onto our lawn, those dandelions will start sprouting over here. Other than that, I just want the lawn to be a healthy section of the world.

Also, I have three pet rabbits producing manure all the livelong day. Any way to use it on the yard?

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billhill(z5 MI - KBG)

Start fertilizing organicly and pull weeds by hand or with a weed hound if you prefer not to treat with herbicides. Rabbit manure is wonderful stuff to fertilize the lawn with. Just sprinkle it on. I use to use it on weak areas of the lawn and they became the strongest and most healthy areas in one season. Fertilize heavy the first year after switching off chemicals. Soybean meal is good stuff to use.
Bill Hill

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic lawncare FAQ

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 1:36PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If you water deeply and infrequently, and mow at the mower's highest setting, you should not have dandelions even if you are surrounded by them.

After that the Organic Lawn Care FAQ will help you with your lawn.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 5:52PM
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leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)

I was planning to not water at all, unless there is a severe dry spell. Is it necessary to water? Here is the rainfall info for my area:

The annual average precipitation at is 45.91 Inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is July with an average rainfall of 4.81 Inches.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 11:15AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If you are not going to water then start thinking now about a bermuda lawn. It is about the only plant that will survive the inevitable dry period that will come some day.

Bermuda needs to be mowed at your mower's LOWEST setting, not the highest as I said above. Bermuda mowed low is the most dense and will fight off the weeds better than if you mow it higher.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:03PM
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leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)

I am not changing grass--did that in my last house and it was not a pretty process.

If there's a long dry spell, that is one thing, but I won't be watering on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 3:47PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If you are not willing to water, that might explain why changing grass did not go well.

With this in mind, hang in there. Keep your grass as tall as possible to avoid drought stress in the summer. When it gets really hot you might avoid mowing it at all.

I fertilize with ordinary corn meal or alfalfa pellets on the federal holidays. I'm much further south than you are so I start on Washington's Birthday. Then coming up is Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:30PM
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leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)

Thanks. I did water when I changed grasses--but that was a much, much smaller lawn. So, for alfalfa pellets, I can just use rabbit food? What do I use to distribute it across the grass? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:06PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I use my hands. I scoop it with whatever 1 pound container is handy and fling it like I'm feeding chickens.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:56AM
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leafy02(6 Central Kentucky)

Sounds easy enough even for me. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 9:24AM
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