RON: Hi I’m Ron Corning for Howdini.com. You know, everyone wants a green lawn, getting it in a greener way takes some know how. Who to know better then expert gardener and editor of Organic Gardening, Scott Meyer. Scott, thanks for being here today.
SCOTT: Great to be with you, Ron.
RON: Scott I know you’ve been encouraging your readers for a long time to move away from chemically treated lawns, why?
SCOTT: Organic lawn care is just safer, safer for your family, for the kids, we have kids playing in a pool nearby they’re going to run across this lawn. You really don’t want them to run across a lawn with a sign of scull and crossbones and says poison’s been sprayed here. Safer for dogs, there’s lots of research that shows dogs suffer from serious illnesses playing and rolling around on a lawn that’s been treated with chemicals. It’s safer for the environment. Agriculture is not even near the threat to the fresh water supply that lawn chemicals are. And your still going to have a lush green lawn that everybody wants.
RON: So we have a number of products here Scott that you recommend for that lush green organic lawn beginning with the grass seed. What do you like about this one?
SCOTT: You want to grow a grass seed that’s adapted to your climate. That helps the grass to grow with less effort from you. In this case we’re here in Pennsylvania we have a Pennsylvania grass seed. In this part of the country you have cool seasoned grass, cause that means they look great in spring or fall, and they ten to be a little browner more dormant in the summer time. In the south people or more likely to grow warm seasoned grass. So you’re going to plant a different type of grass that looks its best in summertime.
RON: Now I’m wondering, if you have a chemically treated chemically grown lawn, do you need to tear it up and replant?
SCOTT: No you don’t you can over seed. That means spreading the grass seed where there already is existing seed and over time will replace the grass that has not survived there.
RON: Interesting, every lawn needs fertilizer even if you’re going organic, and you recommend this particular fertilizer, why?
SCOTT: I recommend organic fertilizers and this is a great one and there are lots of them. If you see the word urea step away from that bag, it’s a chemical. What you’re looking for is a slow release fertilizer, that’s the difference between the organic and the conventional approach. The conventional ones are a bit like steroids. You have a fast green up, it seems the grass is very lush and strong, but over time it is not sustainable. Slow release is like eating good healthy food; it nourishes the lawn as it grows.
RON: Now Scott, in terms of controlling the weeds in your lawn, a lot of people aren’t going to buy into the notion that you can do so without chemicals. What do you recommend?
SCOTT: There’s a great product its called corn glutton meal. It’s a byproduct of corn processing, perfectly safe. In fact they use it as livestock feed. A researcher a few ears ago found out that it has a unique property, it keeps seeds from germinating. So you spread this on your lawn early in spring or in the fall and it will keep the weeds from coming up. And you have to be careful not to use it when you’ve just spread grass seed cause it will keep the grass seed from coming up. But it is so safe you can eat.
RON: So Scott you swear to this point you have this lush green lawn that’s growing organically and then comes the time where you have to trim it. What do you recommend?
SCOTT: This is a way to keep your lawn looking as thick and lush as possible and cut down on weeds that you’re going to see and also increase the fertility of the soil. And that’s what is going to make your lawn the most lush. Very simple things you can do start by raising the blades on your lawnmower. By setting it at its highest possible level. Three inches is a great level. It makes your lawn look thicker and lusher because the blades of grass are longer. Those long blades of grass also shade out the weeds and they keep moisture in the soil. So your cutting down on the amount of work you have to do. Another important thing to do is to let the grass clippings stay on the lawn. Those decompose over time and turn into fertilizer that helps your grass grow thicker and lusher.
RON: So every kid that’s had to rake the lawn they’ve now been relieved of their duties.
SCOTT: They’ve now been converted to organic lawn care specialists.
RON: Well Scott thank you we appreciate it.
SCOTT: Your welcome.
RON: Scott Meyer is the editor of Organic Gardening magazine, and I’m Ron Corning.