Organic lawn care is a process, not a product. Our goal is to educate homeowners that the best form of weed control and disease prevention is patience and time committed to building a thick, healthy stand of turf.
Most homeowners want a great looking yard that is green, thick and healthy. They often are unaware of the dangers of pesticide use or the long term problems chemical fertilizers create. Our site is intended to inform and educate customers about our products and services, why they work, and what you can do to maximize the results and benefits of their use.
A green, healthy, great looking lawn is as easy as Child’s Play.
How Grass Grows
Let’s face it. A thick, green, cultivated yard is not a natural act. Cultivating a great yard, and competing with weeds, requires more than dumping bags of product on the lawn (contrary to what we’ve all been led to believe by the chemical companies). To understand how our recommendations benefit lawns, and how they help to control weeds, customers should understand how grass grows.
Grass is made of three basic parts: blade, crown and roots. The blade is a solar panel. By combining water with sunlight (photosynthesis) it creates energy for the plant to grow larger. The crown is shaped like a pine cone and it is where the blade grows. As we mow, the crown generates new blades. The roots draw water and nutrients up from the soil, which the blade uses to create energy.
Grass must have energy to survive, just as we must eat. However, the plant can’t always make energy and, at times, must live from stored energy in the form of carbohydrates, like fat in our bodies. If grass can’t make energy, and runs out of stored energy, it dies.
Temperature dictates whether the grass will photosynthesize (make energy) or respirate (burn stored energy). Cool season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye, and fescue, are able to photosynthesize (make and store energy) in temperatures from about 55 to 80 degrees. They respirate (burn stored energy) in temperatures above or below that. (An example of a warm season grass is crabgrass. It thrives in temperatures above 90 degrees.)
Dense, Healthy Roots are the Key to a Green, Attractive Lawn
Understanding this concept is crucial to understanding why lawns look bad, and grass dies, in the summer. If the plant goes into the hot summer months with a weak root system (low energy reserves), and the temperature stays above 80 degrees longer than the grass can burn stored energy, it dies!
Let’s consider the growth pattern of a typical cool season lawn. Where you read “making energy” think “building roots” and where you read “burning energy” think “losing roots”
So now you see why summer is the time of year when you are most likely to lose grass. Not only can it not make energy, it has spent several months burning reserves to get there! And where grass doesn’t grow, weeds will. Our programs and recommendations are focused upon helping the grass build the densest, thickest root mass possible to resist stress, drought and weed invasion. In a nutshell, weak, thin roots will yield weak, thin blades. When death from heat and drought allow weeds and disease to move in, that’s when chemical lawn care companies begin applying pesticides.
What does this growth pattern tell us about weeds?
If your lawn does not have a thick, dense root mass by the end of fall, it will not grow aggressively in spring to compete with weeds. That leads to the perception pesticide use is necessary.
If your lawn’s roots are weak and thin, it stands a good chance of dying in the summer heat, opening the door to weed development.
Weeds are more noticeable in the summer, and able to grow, because the grass is not as green and tall. They don’t have as much competition.
Weeds like crabgrass, purslane and clover are specially adapted to survive, and thrive, in summer heat.
The height and frequency with which you mow the yard will have a large impact on its overall health and appearance. Northern grasses are ideally cut to 2.5 to 3 inches.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
We would like to thank our friend Brad Thompson of Cutting Edge Yard Service