Organic Lawn Care with Matt Mauer and Pure Lawn Organic Lawncare
Matt Maurer has been in the green industry for 15 years and started PureLawn Organic Lawncare in 2006 with a mission to reduce and eliminate lawn chemicals while developing a healthy green lawn for his clients to enjoy.
Matt joined me on Amy’s Table to share the tips and tricks to give a lawn we can feel good about.
Want to make your neighbors envious? Here are Matt’s tips for luxurious green lawn:
1) Mow high What is high? 3-4 inches after being cut is where we would suggest you cut your lawn. During the Summer, when it is hot and dry this is even more important. If there is only one thing I can get a customer to do correctly it is to mow their lawn higher. It will mean less weeds, deeper roots, a greener lawn, and hold up against drought stress better.
2) Seed in the Fall – Middle of August – Early October with September being the best time to get seed down. You will see the best results for your time and money to put down seed in the Fall rather than in the Spring. Use turf type tall fescue grass seed. Make sure it is turf type tall fescue and not a tall fescue called K-31 or Kentucky 31. That is a clumpy wide bladed grass.
3) Core Aerate the Lawn – Southwest Ohio soils are infamous for being very high in clay that compact very easily. Core aeration helps relieve compaction, promotes root growth, and allows fertilizer and moisture to get to the roots much easier. Do this in the Spring and/or Fall.
4)Use Organic Fertilizers – By using organic fertilizers, your soil will improve because you are feeding the soil life, improving the soil structure, and feeding the grass plus the roots. Organic fertilizers work by feeding the soil life and they release the nutrients to the grass plant. Synthetic fertilizers juice up the lawn for a short term many times at the expense of the root system while contributing nothing to improving the soil.
5) Crabgrass Barrier down by the end of April – The premergent barrier that helps reduce the amount of crabgrass that pops up in the Summer is time sensitive. It needs to be applied by the end of April. The soil temperature should not consistently be over 55 degrees or the effectiveness of this treatment will be greatly reduced.
We all have To-Do lists. Here’s Matt’s To- Don’t List! The 5 Common Mistakes that homeowners make.
1) They DO NOT Seed Properly – DO NOT put down a premergent barrier and then seed or vice versa. If you do this then you just wasted your time and money. If you plan on doing small spot spring seedings DO NOT put down premergent crabgrass barrier treatments in these areas. Use a starter fertilizer with a high middle number on the bag for these spots. The ideal time again is in the Fall for seeding. Also, don’t just scatter the seed and hope. The new grass needs the proper moisture to germinate. Many grasses take 10-21 days to germinate and will need daily watering for 10 minutes each day if it doesn’t rain.
2)DO NOT Pull Nutsedge or Nutgrass – So it is the middle of Summer and you are seeing that tall neon grass popping up in spots again. DO NOT yank this out. You are doing more harm than good. If you do not get every little part of that plant this sedge will multiply into more plants and you will have more ugly tall neon grass all over. Have a lawn care company spot treat this with a special sedge control application.
3)DO NOT Scalp your Lawn – Many customers think if they mow their lawn down really short, the time between mowings will be reduced. This isn’t the case and the grass actually grows faster and at the expense of the roots. You are harming your lawn and its health by doing this. You are exposing it to more weeds, crabgrass, and drought stress problems too.
4) DO NOT Water your Lawn in the Evening – It makes me cringe when I am driving around in the evening and see someone watering their lawn. DO NOT water your lawn after 3 pm. This will help avoid lawn fungus from developing and spreading. You want the water to dry before the night. If you water at 5 pm after you return from work, then the water sits on the grass all night long and this promotes lawn disease. Water in the morning, for 60-90 minutes, 1-2 times per week during the Summer.
5)DO NOT Pick up the Clippings – Let your mulched up grass clippings absorb back into the soil. Leaving the grass clippings on the lawn will add extra organic matter and recycle the nutrients from the fertilizer applied. Grass clippings DO NOT contribute to thatch and are beneficial to the health of the soil. Make sure the there are no clumps of grass, but mulched up properly, grass clippings are helpful to a beautiful lawn.
So why should everyone consider using organic lawn care to reduce or eliminate the lawn chemicals on their yard?
Matt says “Whether you have young children, pets, are a lawn enthusiast, or care about our environment your lawn will benefit from an organic lawn program. The chemical companies will tell you what is being applied is regulated by the EPA and is fine. The “organic purist” will tell you that all lawn chemicals are bad and cause cancer, asthma, environmental issues, and many other problems. I lean more toward the “organic purist”, but I do feel there is a middle ground we can all agree on. We do use some chemicals to spot treat in our Bridge Program, but also have a chemical-free program for those who want the peace of mind that their lawn has no chemicals being applied to it. I personally use our PureGreen chemical-free program on my own lawn. I have two dogs and a kid on the way. I will never apply chemicals around them to be on the safe side. At the end of the day, you can have a green healthy beautiful lawn without dumping a bunch of chemicals on it. If you need to use some chemicals here and there to spot treat some problem areas go for it, but read the label and don’t have your pets and kids out there.
When you can smell a lawn being treated blocks away, there is a good possibility what is being applied isn’t so great for the health of your kids and pets. If your current company is spraying your whole lawn with unnecessary chemicals you may want to consider changing companies or doing it yourself to limit or eliminate the chemicals entirely. Back in the 50’s people thought cigarettes were fine and didn’t cause health problems. We now know they cause many health problems. I think in 10-20 years there will be even more research pointing to lawn chemicals and issues with health. I don’t want to have to deal with that with my children or pets. Also, in the past 10 years the more natural products have become more reasonably priced and more effective. As the consumer demands more natural products for lawns, the big manufacturers of lawn materials will be forced to do more research and develop safer more effective products.”
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