How do you determine if your lawn is doing well? Do you base your decision on the shade of green?
There are several products that are marketed to turn your lawn green if applied every few weeks. Some contain wetting agents, organic matter, and iron.
The quantities of these products applied to your lawn don’t even compare to the tons of soil used in top-dressing.
Many companies earn huge profits by spreading or spraying synthetic chemicals on lawns to turn them green. Sprinklers and rain can create runoff with excessive amount of nutrients or phosphorus from the fertilizer which then enters our watersheds. Algal blooms in our freshwater ponds and lakes produces large amounts of decaying organic matter which consumes oxygen in the water killing aquatic life.
Have you noticed the EPA is removing the root building phosphates from fertilizer? Look at a bag of fertilizer. It lists the main three ingredients as 29-0-4 for example. Is it two ingredients now or still three, but you get 0% of the middle one? Why the eco-friendly change?
Read the warnings on the fertilizer bag, i.e. This product kills fish, is one I recently read. Canada has laws against fertilizer use to protect their waterways for this very reason. Fish are in bodies of water, usually far away from our lawns. If larger organisms such as fish can’t handle fertilizer or the algal blooms, what is it killing in the soil that might be ingesting it?
Last month, I wrote about the benefits of top-dressing your lawn following an aeration to replenish the soil and feed your lawn. Lawns in Douglas County especially, are looking depleted, compacted, and in dire need of fertile soil.
How does fertilizing stand up to top-dressing when compared?
Turns Lawns Green Yes Yes
Adds Microorganisms Yes No
Adds Organic Matter Yes No
Harms the environment No Yes
Feeds the Grass Yes Yes
Thickens Lawn Yes Yes
Beneficial to Soil Microbiology Yes No
Retains/Absorbs/Conserves Water Yes No
EPA Removing Harmful Ingredients No Yes
Kills Aquatic Organisms No Yes
Promotes New Grass Shoots Yes Yes
Promotes Worms to Burrow (Aerate) Yes No
Breaks up Clay Yes No
Lessens Water Runoff Yes No
Contains Chemicals No Yes
Levels Lawn Yes No
Materials have increased in cost No Yes
Logical Yes No
So, you determine your lawn is doing well by the shade of green?
Then consider GOING GREEN! Fill empty aeration holes with fertile soil and give the grass roots and worms something to thrive in.
How to Top-dress Your Lawn
2. Aerate heavily
3. Spread Planter Mix at approximately 1 cubic yard (1,100 pounds) per 1,000 - 1,200 square feet of lawn
4. Rake into holes and grass thoroughly. Do not smother grass.
2. Feed the Soil
3. Check Sprinkler System and Coverage
4. Sharpen Mower Blade
5. Mow Lawn on Higher Setting
6. Adjust Watering Times to Temperatures and Rainfall
7. Conserve Water (Water between 9 p.m. - 5 a.m.)