5 Steps to a Lush and Healthy Lawn

You can have an organic lawn that is lush and lovely, and there are so many reasons to go natural. Pesticides and herbicides are linked to neurotoxicity, birth defects, cancers, organ damage and more.

Find out five easy steps to maintaining a gorgeous, healthy lawn without resorting to harmful chemicals:

1. Kick the fertilizer habit. Turf needs less nitrogen than people think. Try an organic lawn food blend such as Concern or Espoma, cottonseed meal, or dried poultry waste. Most of the nitrogen in these is water-insoluble; it stays put and is released over a month or more, providing nutrition to the plants in small doses.

2. Add clover and other grasses. If you are lucky, you already have some clover in your lawn. If not, it is easy to add it by overseeding, or planting on top of what is already there. Rough up the surface with a metal garden rake. Mix the clover seed with sand or finely screened compost. Sow 2 ounces clover seed per 1,000 square feet for moderate clover cover, or up to 8 ounces if you want clover to dominate the turf. After sowing, water your lawn deeply and keep the soil moist until clover germinates.

3. Water, but not too much. Watering, like fertilizing, calls for restraint. Deep watering every 2 weeks or so is preferable to shallow daily watering. If you grow the proper turf-grass for your area, you can probably get by without any watering.

4. Banish weeds and insects naturally. Mowing, feeding, and watering practices will reduce the weed population, and there are effective organic weed-control strategies. One of the best is corn gluten meal, which prevents crabgrass and other weeds from germinating, Apply it early in the season, before the soil reaches 55 degrees, at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Do it again in late summer.

To eradicate grubs, try Milky Spore, a bacteria that is poisonous to grubs and only grubs, a favorite of organic gardeners for over 50 years. Apply only 4 ounces to 1,000 square feet in spring or summer.

5. Enhance your soil. Use a spreader to apply a quarter-inch deep (or less) of finely screened compost to the turf. Compost invigorates the soil and stirs up a slew of microorganisms as it sifts below the surface, improving drainage and reducing compaction along the way.

Adapted from Organic Style magazine (Rodale Press, April 2004).


William C
William C5 months ago


W. C
W. C5 months ago

Thank you.

Carl Milson
Past Member 6 years ago

Ok, I will try and implement some of these strategies. :)

Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Monica M.
Past Member 7 years ago

Plant oat grass for the cats, they love it. I went to the local feed mill and asked them if they has some leftover oats and they gave me a couple of pounds. I wonder if this lovely grass can be a replacement for lawn grass??

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Sandra Q.
Sandra Q7 years ago

I'm not a fan of lawns..love flower and hardscapes.

Paul Burke Journey Home
Paul Burke9 years ago

Dandelion's can be controlled with Corn Gluten - I use Bradfield Organics, and also a nice alfalfa fertilizer by Bradfield. I feel so good not putting anything named "Scotts" on my lawn. Corn Gluten isn't 100% effective but that with setting your mower on it's highest setting will eventually eliminate the dandelions. After getting their heads chopped off (3 years) they don't come back. It's all about what's happening above ground for the weeds. Deep watering but less often works apparently the grass has deeper roots while the weeds love the moisture on top. And, the weeds like the shorter grass and can't compete with longer grass(it's a fight for the sun). Soil health is the way to eliminate weeds and what the worm casings and organics try to do - while the chemical companies treat the grass blade and decimate the soil killing all the good stuff that is happening down there.

My lawn is far from "golf course" perfect but it's lush and it's full and after years of neglect and chemicals the soil is starting to get that dark rich color god intended. Plus I have an abundance of birds and bunnies chowing down on my lawn.

Also when you dig or renovate and disturb the soil you release weed seed and the next season you'll notice more weeds near your last work site - not to worry - dig em out or mow em down and love being outside in the garden. Use the push mower when you can.

Author-Journey Home

Katie B.
Katie B.9 years ago

Creeping charlie, thistle, dandelions, etc. are overtaking my lawn! I have kids and don't want to use any chemcials. Will corn gluten get rid of all of those? Where do you get it? Any other tips to get rid of the weeds?

Alexander D.
Alexander D9 years ago

Worm casting are another great organic fertilizer. They've made my garden grow appreciably larger veggies than anything else.

Leisa D.
Leisa D9 years ago

unless you actually use your lawn why not lose your lawn?

get rid of your lawn and plant an organic vegetable garden or herbs- donate the extra food to a local food bank or make friends with your neighbors & share (especially with the elderly)

or drought resistant plants-