Want to know how but don’t know where to start?
Want to know how but don’t know where to start? Well in this post we are going to get some information to you in the way of ‘how to’. There is a saying that goes something like this – ‘let’s start at the grassroots’. And that is exactly where we are going to start. With the lawn.
We need to start to do it organically with the easy stuff and for those of you who think organic is all very well but only if it works.
For those of you who are not interested in losing ground (or grass) while making the transition or waiting for the experiment to finally work because going organic can seem like an awful lot of work. Some suggestions for things you can do easily that move you in an organic direction.
Do it yourself organic lawn & garden care
Beginning to ‘do it organic’, is the only way if you want to avoid exposing yourself, your pets, your family, and the environment to toxic chemicals. Anyone interested in organic lawn care but those who are skeptical, ie what if it doesn’t work, what if I don’t know what I’m doing kind of thinking, then there is a need to know about IPM (Integrated pest management). IPM provides stable, continuous suppression of pests by promoting their natural enemies.
The long-term approach is also the least toxic method of controlling insects. Chemicals, used only as a last resort, are normally not needed. IPM is a well-recognized as a growing approach to lawns, gardening, and agriculture, it is like organic gardening with a loophole.
You can do everything to establish a healthy crop on healthy soil using earth-friendly methods, but should you hit a problem you can’t solve, you will need to take recourse and turn to chemicals. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, therefore, become the last resort, rather than the first. You may need to use them from time to time, but you’ll use them far less often and only after trying other methods.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in your garden environment
Long-term control is achieved through an ecological and economic approach to pest control. As the term “integrated” suggests, IPM does not depend on a single tactic but on long term combined tactics that are more effective than any one in particular by itself.
IPM does require a certain investment in time and energy. It is, however, less complex and it will eventually make achieving your growth objectives easier. There are garden supplies that offer you help to manage pests in an effective way, these are safe for pets, environment etc.
One of the first steps to controlling lawn (& garden) pests is to do a little background research on common insect pests. Remember not all insects are pests! If you can learn a little more about the pest’s life cycle then the treatment can be chosen and timing can be most effective.
Establish a level of acceptable damage (not all pests are of economic importance).
If the pest population is high enough to cause unacceptable damage, use any and all available means of IPM, but start with those least damaging to pest predators and the environment (it is estimated that less than 1% of all insect species are pests).
Here is list of damaging pests to watch out for – (note – not all areas have all these pests and some do affect both plants and lawns): Ants, aphids, black vine weevil, blister beetle, carpenter ant, clinch bug, cutworm, dollar spot, earwigs, fire ants, grasshoppers (one of the most destructive), Japanese beetle, sod webworm, gypsy moth and fairy ring.
To counter-act these pests there are also several beneficial pests that can be introduced onto your lawn or into the garden. – Ladybugs, aphid predators, aphid parasites, fungal gnat predators. Pests and predators can also be culled in ways of reducing their habitat and reducing its’ food, water and shelter, growing room or other needs.
Crops of flowers mixed can also be used to distract pest predators. Another strategy is by adjusting the soil ph and selecting plants that are resistant to pests. Sometimes tools and traps can be utilised effectively and are definitely a suggested deterrent.
Why not spray?
Most chemical insecticides have a very poor aim: they not only can not target a particular kind of insect, but it will kill every other insect in its path, so not just killing the pests but their good predators as well. The spray may kill the whiteflies, but the ladybugs that feed on them will also succumb to the spray and die.
This means that these products are effective for only a limited time because they cut such a broad swath through the insect kingdom, they leave a “hole,” an ecological niche, into which the pests can easily return–unless you spray again, and again. Toxic insecticides, therefore, are a tactic of limited use, sadly destroying more than just pests.
Another compelling reason to avoid toxic spray is that they have a tendency to move up the food chain. Remember DDT? This was the insecticide used so widely in the fifties and sixties until it was found to be weakening the eggshells of birds who fed on the poisoned insects along with many other disastrous effects.
Such sprays as 1080 also kill birds and animals and are still being used to this day in a number of countries. Sprays penetrate the ground, the lawn, the gardens and so if you are spraying them onto your properties they will invariably be seeping through underground pipes and leeching into our waterways.
Growing our own organic lawn
So, if you didn’t know anything about growing your own organic lawn, I hope that some of the information relayed here is of help to get you started. There is an abundance of information to be found and an incredible amount of tools, products etc for you to grow your own organic lawn. In doing so, you can be confident that you are helping to do your bit for the benefit of humans, bugs and pests but mostly our environment.