Organic fertilizer for lawns is the healthy alternative to the chemical alternatives. Natural fertilizers feed microbes in the soil. Microbes, which is bacteria and fungi etc, turn the fertilizer into lawn food that can be absorbed by the grass plant.
Chemical fertilizers feed the grass plant directly at the roots. What the plant doesn’t use is leached through the soil and pollutes our water system. Synthetic fertilizers are certainly not safe and should be used moderately and with care.
Environmental concerns, whether personal or legislative, is why we’re all here. Truly understanding organic lawn care and succeeding at it takes a brief knowledge of a few subjects. Knowing the very basics of how the soil food web works saves you money and effort. Let nature do the work for you.
Organic fertilizer for Lawns Feed Microbes in the Soil
Purchasing bags of natural fertilizer should be based on what your soil needs according to your test results. For example, if your soil test results says you already have acceptable potassium levels, there is no need to get an organic fertilizer that is 8-1-9.
Shop around, find the organic fertilizer that fits best your situation. If you’re satisfied with your soil test results and you don’t feel you need bagged natural fertilizer, don’t use it.
If your soil test results return with acceptable levels of nutrients and your just looking to green up your lawn we have all your organic fertilizers at our natural lawn care store.
Types of Organic Fertilizer
- Fish hydrolysate
- Blood meal
- Corn Gluten
- Chicken manure
On well established lawns, the use of natural fertilizer isn’t always necessary. Having abundant percentages of organic matter in your soil (over 5%) is generally sufficient to feed and keep the microbes healthy and happy.
During the transition phase of going from chemical to organic, I do feel the need for organic fertilizers. Your nutrient levels are out of whack. The quicker you build the organic matter percentages the better.
Different microbes have different appetites
You can use livestock feed products like Alfalfa, Soybean meal or cottonseed. Try to get a good mix with a variety of fertilizers such as chicken manures, fish bi-products and other meals. An agricultural grain store should have plenty supply at relatively inexpensive prices.
For best results, concentrate on using top-dressing with compost to supplement your soil’s needs. Then fine-tune it with compost teas and organic fertilizers if needed. Do this until you’re confident you’ve reached maximum nutrient exchange and biology in the soil.
Natural fertilizers supply organic matter, compost provides organic matter and biology,
Many people skip the compost route and just use organic lawn food because it’s just easier and more convenient. Sometimes finding healthy tested compost can be difficult.
Natural fertilizer adds organic matter to the soil. It’s just so much quicker and efficient with compost.
With proper amounts of healthy organic matter in the soil a strong microbial population will follow and visa versa the more dense the soil food web the more fertile the soil.
Microbes have different appetites
Bacteria likes organic matter that is not fully decomposed. Grass clippings are the perfect bacterial food. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn also supply your green grass with one pound of Nitrogen per 1000 sq feet for that season.
Fungi on the other hand like brown foods, for example chopped up leaves.
If you have absolutely no compost available or no way you can top-dress your lawn with it. Then by all means, find a quality organic fertilizer for lawns that fits your needs.
Apply it on the lawn and then follow-up with a good compost tea on top. Compost teas are a great source of supplying your soil with microbes to break down organic matter and feed your lawn.
I can’t stress enough the importance of leaving grass clippings on the lawn. If you cut the lawn when it’s dry and only remove a 1/3 of the blade, the clippings should be gone in no time without causing any problems at all. It feeds the bacteria, adds nitrogen and organic matter.
If I have a problem convincing someone to leave the grass clippings you should see how they react when I ask them to mulch the leaves into the lawn.
Deciduous Trees are a Good Source of Organic Fertilizer for Lawns
If you have a mulching mower great. If not discharge the leaves out with one pass of the mower, then mulch the leaves in when you come back the opposite way.
When you do get the heavy leaf drop, start mowing in the middle of the lawn. Discharge the leaves outward, pushing the leaves to the perimeter. I know it’s a bit of work. If you get out there often enough it’s just less leaves you have to rake up later. Cut the lawn again going back and forth.
Of course, the more you cut the more you mulch. You’ll be surprised how quickly the mulched leaves dissipate in just a few short days. Feeding the fungi, adding organic matter to the soil along with other nutrients.
Don’t Bag the Grass Clippings
So now we know how to feed the microbes. The next question is how do we increase their populations and diversity of colonies to maximize our efforts. Well the best source is having optimum compost available. Unfortunately, that black gold isn’t always handy, so sometimes it needs a bit of help.
Organic Fertilizer for Lawns