Spring Lawn & Yard Care Tips Without Chemicals
You want a bright green lawn but you don’t want to wear a hazmat suit to go outside into your own yard, I get it!
We know chemicals work but chemicals also work their way down through the groundwater and into your local ponds and streams, turning your local ponds into fluorescent green mats of algae that look like something out of a Shrek movie.
So let’s talk about natural ways you can accomplish the same result without using chemicals, let’s get started. Now let’s get into fertilization; natural fertilization comes in three forms. The first form is feather meal, the second form is peat moss, and the third form is worm castings.
So peat moss is basically just accumulated bio matter, so this comes from peat bogs and then is used as a grower by just drying some stuff out of it. Sometimes it’s like in a brick, and you break it up, you add water to it, you kind of mix it and then you can plant into it. All of these are safe, natural alternatives that your grass is absolutely going to love.
Worm castings are actually worm poop that makes great fertilizer for your lawn or your garden.
But if you don’t have those things available to you, there are other things that you can add into the soil that will act in almost the same way. We’re going to call these the beneficial browns and the beneficial greens. The beneficial browns are leaves, dried leaves. But you can’t just put leaves in a big pile and expect it to help your lawn. What you’ve got to do is; you’ve got to finely chop those leaves over the entire yard. You should not be able to see those leaves, that’s a rule of thumb.
Another beneficial brown is newspapers; yes, newspapers are fabulous for your yard but you shouldn’t be able to identify that you’ve just placed newspapers in your yard. When you put the newspapers out there, take your lawn mower and mulch them up. It’s the same process you use for the leaves. Turn it into as fine of a powder as you possibly can and this will naturally incorporate back into the soil, adding more organic material. Two other beneficial browns are straw or hay and branches. You’ve got to do the same process you do with the leaves, but let’s get on to the beneficial greens.
The beneficial greens include fruit and vegetable scraps, they also include egg shells, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. Do the same thing with the beneficial greens as you did with the beneficial browns, you should never be able to identify anything you’re placing in your yard. If you can, you need to pulverize it into a finer particulate matter. The winter can be very hard on your yard especially if you live in areas that have high concentrations of snow and if you also happen to have a yard where people tend to drive off the driveway and park in the yard in the wintertime, or areas where they pile snow up and leave it over the winter, you’re going to experience soil compaction and soil contamination via higher concentrations of salt.
There are two easy cures to this. The first thing you want to do is, if you do have areas where they pile snow you want to dilute the salt concentration that can build up, the easiest way to do that is with a garden hose. Simply water the heck out of that area, that’s going to disperse that salt and get rid of it. But to de-compact the soil, there are three ways to do this; two of which I’m going to recommend and one I’m going to tell you to stay away from. What I want you to stay away from to de-compact your soil, is de-thatching. De-thatching loosens up the soil but in the spring time, it’s especially hard on the young grass that’s trying to grow and pop down into that soil, because de-thatching tends to rip and tear through the roots.
The best way to de-compact your soil is with a process called aeration. This is a machine that put spikes into the ground and then it vibrates and it continues to roll your lawn. This is hands-down the best de-compaction method; your lawn will absolutely love if you can do aeration. If you don’t have aeration available, you can use the old plug and pull method, which means you put spikes into the ground, you pull the core out and you leave that core behind. It is not as effective as aeration but it’s much better than de-thatching.
For areas where you have compacted soil these two processes are what I recommend, and really what you’re doing is, you’re pulling a portion of the ground out and leaving it on top. So you yank this right out of the ground and it loosens up the soil and allows it to breathe.
Here’s a trick, something that I like to do after a hard winter, where people have piled up snow and you get a little bit of a sand accumulation and you don’t want that, I use a power broom.
Hey, how do you like that like that compared to a rake?
It’s not even a comparison.
Is it better?
You can also use a rake! That’s gotten the thatch out but the power broom did the same thing, didn’t it?
Yeah, it also got the rocks. The power broom was a little heavier but this still way more work.
Yeah, I can tell. Just by watching and listening to you talk while you’re doing it. You would have just gone, zip, zip twice with the power broom. Either one of these are great ways of getting that extra material that you don’t want in your yard, out of your yard. Both of them have extra benefits associated with them that is like de-thatching. What they do is, they will lightly remove some of the dead grass that is built up while they’re removing the extra sand.
So, let’s do a quick wrap-up. After a harsh winter you need to de-compact your soil and aeration is your number one method, plug and pull is number two, last and least, number three is de-thatching, I don’t recommend you doing this especially if it’s early in the spring. Let the grass re-establish. If you have salt concentration, you’re going to dilute that by just simply adding water, and hosing it off, getting rid of that material. If you have extra road-based sand or things that accumulated over the winter mixed into your yard and you want to remove that, the trick I use is a power broom. You can also use a rake you don’t have that tool available to you.
Now you’re going to want to fertilize, you’re going to use the beneficial browns and the beneficial greens. The beneficial browns include: dry leaves, sticks, hay, and newspapers, but all of these things need to be pulverized into as fine of a particulate matter as absolutely possible. Your beneficial greens, these include fruits and vegetable scraps, eggshells, grass clippings and coffee grounds, absolutely a phenomenal beneficial green. Incorporate all of this into your soil, it’s absolutely going to love you, your lawn is going to pop.
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