For many of us our lawn is an essential part of our home, but it’s also a source of concern. Are the products we use in the pursuit of a beautiful yard safe for our family and pets? What about our neighbors and the environment?
Here at GreenTree, we believe we can have beautiful, healthy lawns without backbreaking work and noxious chemicals. With our carefully selected range of lawn care products and easy maintenance schedule, we’ll help you grow a great Low-Impact Lawn that’s easy on the environment, your wallet and your time.
Healthy soil. The key to a healthy lawn is healthy soil. Intense chemical programs and many organic lawn products give the plant a quick fix of nutrients without taking care of the soil. Building the level of organic matter in your soil creates an environment where microbes and small animals can do their jobs, cycling nutrients and creating a good environment for plants to grow.
Know your soil. If you bring a soil sample to the store, we’ll measure pH, and you may have your soil analyzed to determine organic matter levels and what nutrients, if any, your soil needs. Our in-house team will interpret your soil results and guide you as to which fertilizer you need and how much to apply.
Feed your soil. If your soil is in poor condition with low organic matter, a great place to start is with a quality compost to build organic matter levels and supply nutrients. A typical recommendation is to rake about ¼ inch of compost as a top dressing. We stock an OMRI-certified dairy manure compost as well as Cayuga Compost, both produced locally. Take care though; over time too much nutrient rich compost can lead to excess levels of nutrients.
GreenTree Low-Impact Lawn Care Schedule
(Click here for an easy-to-print pdf)
1. Early spring
It’s time for a workout. Rake the lawn and remove the debris that has accumulated over winter.
Grass roots and all those microbes love oxygen, so now is a good time to aerate your lawn to promote early growth. Make sure you wait until the lawn is dry so you won’t damage it.
If you didn’t get to it in the fall, now is also a great time to apply lime to adjust pH, if needed.
Re-seed bare areas to crowd out weeds such as crabgrass. If you have problems with weeds you can also apply corn gluten meal to suppress weed germination at 20 lbs/1,000 sq.ft. of lawn. As with any herbicide, corn gluten will prevent the germination of lawn seed, so plan your seeding first.
2. Late spring
Memorial Day is here, and it’s time to give the lawn some love. At least 3 weeks after applying your herbicide, it’s time to apply a quality organic-based nutrient source.
We recommend Nature’s Turf 8-1-9 and Happy Frog 8-2-6 as quality balanced products.
Beware of nitrogen-rich, poorly balanced organic products. They will not improve your lawn and soil, and they end up being more costly to use.
You’ve got the lawn mower out by now. Whatever your tool of choice, make sure you keep the blades sharp and that you mow at a cutting height of 3 inches.
Leave the clippings on the lawn. The microbes will eat them and recycle the nutrients back to your lawn – that’s nature lowering your impact and saving you money!
The grass’ growth slows as the soil dries out. It’s time to give the roots a boost using a bio stimulant. We recommend Good For Turf, which is watered onto the lawn. It increases carbohydrate production, which feeds root development and increases energy reserves — essential for turf’s survival through the hot, dry summer.
Good For Turf is biologically active, and it stimulates the procreation of beneficial microorganisms. The result is sustained growth, intensified coloration, and significantly less need for pest and disease controls.
4. Late summer-early fall
It’s Labor Day, and your lawn is getting hungry. Promoting growth through autumn is key to improving your lawn’s health. It’s time to reapply Nature’s Turf or Happy Frog.
5. Mid-late fall
It’s almost Thanksgiving. If you didn’t get to it in the spring, now is a good time to do a soil analysis and apply lime. Local lawn owners will typically need to apply 30 lbs of pelletized lime per 1,000 sq.ft. Pelletized lime costs a little more but is easier to apply than powder. We recommend using pelletized calcium lime, or you may use dolomitic limestone if your soil is not too high in magnesium.
6. Late fall
You’ve been raking leaves and tidying the yard. It’s time to reduce your cutting height to about 1 inch for the final mowings. Remove the remaining leaves from the lawn, or attach a bagger to your mower, chop them up, and add them to your compost pile.
And a few final tips...
Go easy on the nutrients
Nitrogen helps the plant grow lush and green but is easily lost, polluting waterways and producing greenhouse gasses if not used by the plant. So it is important to use primarily slow-release organic sources to feed populations of bacteria and fungi in soil that require high-protein substrates – feeding the soil and promoting the cycling of nutrients. The plant will get what it needs as these nutrients cycle.
You probably don’t need phosphate. For a typical lawn, your grass can get all the phosphate (derived from phosphorus) it needs from the soil. Excess phosphate will simply promote weeds and damage water quality in our lakes and streams.
You may need potassium. It’s important to strengthen grass so it can resist both insects and diseases and better withstand drought.
GreenTree stocks quality, balanced and OMRI-certified products to help you create a Low-Impact Lawn.
Want to know more?
We are always ready to answer your questions at the store, and if we can’t we’ll find the answer.
Our local university and extension services also offer a wealth of information and resources. Check out: