The Advantages of Organic Lawncare
Do you have a healthy green lawn? Do you pay for maintenance and upkeep like herbicide and fertilizer application? If so, you’ve probably never considered asking your lawncare professional if they have an organic option. After all, most of us are so busy we don’t have time to think about such things. But you might want to reconsider. No, I’m not going to preach to you about the environment. Even though that’s reason enough to stop using lawn chemicals. I’m more interested in talking about health. Your health, your kids, and even your pets. But that’s not the only reason to switch. Did you know that you might actually be able to save some money by using organic fertilizer? I’ll explain how later. For now, let’s talk about chemical fertilizer products and your health.
Chemical Lawn – What’s in it?
Chemical fertilizers used in lawncare provide plants with the three primary nutrients they need to grow. You’ve probably seen an N-P-K sign on a fertilizer bag. That stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They also usually contain sulfur and calcium, which are important to plants as well. However, it’s not these minerals we should be concerned with. It’s the byproducts of manufacturing and the additives that concern me.
First off, these products are either petroleum byproducts or they are extracted through mining processes. Have you ever heard a gardener refer to a fertilizer as “hot”? Well this stuff is very hot, meaning it might burn your plants. So, the manufacturer usually encases the fertilizer in something to slow the release. Usually this is going to be either formaldehyde, urea, or a synthetic polymer. Does any of this sound like something you want the kids or the family dog to track into your house?
What’s the Risk?
According to the EPA and other governing bodies, chemical fertilizers are safe when used as directed. But let’s think about that for a moment. We all know formaldehyde is toxic. Sure, it exists in nature, but generally not in high concentrations. Combine it with the thousands of other chemicals we are exposed to each day, and our livers might end up working overtime. Then there’s the polymers used to encase some of these products. Do you remember the BPA scare from a few years back? The concern was that BPA might cause hormonal changes. Well guess what! Some of the polymers used in chemical fertilizers are suspected endocrine disruptors. Personally, I don’t want anything like that getting brought into the house on shoes or paws.
Are there Any Alternatives?
I get it! You worked hard for a lush green lawn. It’s the envy of all your neighbors. But you don’t have to give that up to limit your exposure to toxins. There are natural and organic lawncare options out there. In fact, you might have an even better lawn after you switch! You see, chemical fertilizers have a lot of salt. The salt kills soil bacteria. That bacteria is what breaks down the minerals in your soil into a form your grass can use. So, you might have greener grass over time with organic fertilizer.
But isn’t that Expensive?
Surprisingly, no! When you use natural products, there is less chance you will damage your turf. So, you can do what’s called foliar feeding. With foliar feeding, you spray liquid fertilizer onto the leaves. Your grass will absorb over 90% of the nutrients with a foliar feeding. You might find this a bit shocking, but when you use a chemical granule fertilizer, plants only get 7-8% of the nutrients. The rest flows into our waterways where it causes algae blooms and reproductive harm to fish.
So, due to the efficiencies of foliar feeding, you can actually save money by using less fertilizer. Over time, you will restore the biological activity in your soil. This leads to even more cost savings. Why? Because biological activity increases nutrients available to your grass. In fact, a healthy acre of earthworms can produce over 700 pounds of worm castings each year! That’s a lot of free grass fertilizer! So, you get lower cost, greener grass, and less toxins. What are you waiting for? Make the switch to organic lawncare this summer.
About the Author:
Blake Akers is an Online Marketing Consultant, and manager of Fertilizer for Less an AGGRAND Fertilizer Dealership in Birmingham, Alabama.