Every gardener wants a lush, green and healthy lawn. But true gardeners also care for their lawn, choosing a treatment that won’t harm plants or the environment. This article discusses both organic and chemical lawn treatments and why organic treatments are better for your lawn, garden, and the earth.
What is Organic?
In lawn care the words natural or organic just mean that the product is minimally processed, and the nutrients remain in their natural forms, rather than being extracted and refined.
Organic fertilizer is normally made from one or more of plant waste, animal waste and powdered minerals.
They are more often sold as “soil conditioners” rather than as fertilizer, because the nutrient ratios are very hard to guarantee. Organic fertilizers can still be processed in a factory, but in the case of manure and compost just as often on site at a farm.
What are Synthetic Fertilisers?
The most common type of fertiliser on the market is synthetic (chemical) fertiliser, which is a man-made, manufactured treatment used to add nutrients to your lawn. They are the most popular form of lawn treatment and can found at all plant and gardening stores.
Chemical treatments are available in several types including liquid, spike, granule and pellet and each help the plants to consume nutrients very fast. This provides the plants with a quick, fast-acting boost of nutrients directly to the roots and is one reason why this type of treatment is the most popular on the market.
Synthetic fertilisers are commonly used because they are the most readily available and cost-effective, thus are in higher demand. An advantage of using chemical fertilisers is that they are cheap and an inexpensive way to provide your garden with nutrients they need to grow and nurture.
Do the Cons Outweigh the Pros?
The simple answer is yes. Synthetic fertilisers give grass macro nutrients but unfortunately the macro nutrients given this way can cause a lot of damage.
Extra nutrients that are not used at the time become absorbed by the soil, which can cause problems including fertiliser ‘burn’ through dehydration. This is known as over fertilisation which can kill grass and damage your whole eco-system.
Although chemical fertilisers provide the plants with macro nutrients, they do not normally contain any micronutrients.
The chemicals in these fertilisers are made from non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels and therefore they are bad for the environment. They can also leach into local rivers and have been commonly linked with health problems, which is why a lot of gardeners do not choose to use chemical treatments on their lawns.
Chemical fertilisers help to grow plants however this is where it stops. Using chemical treatments for your lawn does not help promote the health of your soil. When using this method of treatment you have to be careful because plants can be ‘burnt’ when they are applied incorrectly.
Chemical fertilisers are still a commonly used technique for lawn treatments however they have a lot more long-term negatives that outweigh the short-term positives, as the Garden Counselor explains further.
Why You Should Choose Organic Lawn Treatment
Although chemical treatments are cheaper, there are more positive reasons for you to choose organic lawn treatments. Organic fertilisers give the lawn a healthy diet of nutrients that are slow release and the most effective way for your lawn to grow naturally.
Just like human food, where a lot of processed food has added additives, flavourings, and other chemicals. The long-term impacts of synthetic lawn treatments can be negative whereas choosing an organic treatment has fewer chances of damaging the plant, soil and surrounding eco-system.
An organic lawn will help you save on water. If your soil is rich in organic treatment and mixture, it acts similar to a sponge, which helps water retention and resistance to drought. The water and nutrients are kept close to the roots of the plant ensuring the plants don’t dry out.
Organic treatment will prolong and improve the life of your plants, with a higher expectancy with less watering, choosing a hybrid treatment that at least includes organic components such as Scott’s Lawn Builder is better, but you can also create your own 100% organic lawn treatment.
You don’t have to mow the grass as often when using organic treatment, you can spend more time planting new shrubs, flowers, and trees in your garden.
A natural and organically grown lawn doesn’t need as much attention as a chemically treated lawn, this is because organic treatments help slow and regulate growth. This is in comparison to a chemically treated lawn that has irregular spurts of growth thus resulting you in mowing the lawn more often that you want.
How to Use Lawn Treatments
There are many ways to use lawn fertilisers and it is usually dependent on the type of fertiliser you are using, the time of year it is, an the variety and condition of your grass.
Application rates have found to be quite generous for lawn treatments, so make sure you don’t overfeed your law.
If your lawn seems unwell don’t rush to feed it too much as this can lead to burning. The best approach is to use less treatment, more frequently rather than loads in one go.
To apply the fertiliser to your lawn, there are plenty of methods you could use. Try and distribute an even amount across the whole of your lawn, using one of the many applicators on the market. Using a spreader will save you lots of time if you have a big lawn.
You can also get chemical treatments in water based mixtures that provide a quick release of nutrients that can used immediately by the lawn.
The Lawn Care Nut has provided the following handy video demonstrating how much fertilizer to put down and what spreader settings to use.