your floor

Similar to Greening Your Garden, the basics of lawn care start with your soil. If you haven’t had a soil sample taken in the last 5 years, this is where you should start. Many local garden centers have soil kits. DIY kits will provide you with a minimum of information. You really should send a soil sample to a lab for “organic” analysis. An organic analysis will tell you exactly how much of each “amendment” you need to add to your soil to bring it up to par. A “regular” soil test tends to include only the PH level and the three main nutrient levels that you can correct with fertilizers: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Ideally, you should take your soil sample in the spring.

soil pH

Most grasses like a pH level of 6.5, which is slightly acidic. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. Dandelions, on the other hand, like soil with a pH level of 7.5, are slightly alkaline. Therefore, a proper ph level will support the growth of your lawn while also slowing the growth of dandelions. Dolomitic lime is used to increase the alkalinity of the soil, where magnesium and calcium are also needed. Hi-cal cal increases alkalinity where the soil has adequate magnesium. Flowers Of Sulfur is used to increase the acidity of the soil.

Organic fertilizers

Fertilizers list the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on the bag, such as 7-7-7. The soil also requires other macronutrients, including sulfur, calcium, and magnesium, and trace elements such as iron, boron, and zinc.

Organic nitrogen sources:

Canola seed meal: (6-2-1) maximum of 5 kilograms/10 square meters (10 pounds/100 square feet). Last 5 months.

Fish meal: (10.5-6-0) max. 2.5kg/10m2 (5lbs/100sqft). Lasts 6-8 months.

Blood meal: (12.5-1-3) max. 1.5kg/10m2 (3lbs/100sqft). Last 4 months.

Organic phosphorus sources:

Bone meal: (3-20-0) plus 20-30% calcium. max. 2.5 kg/10 square meters (5 pounds/100 square feet). Lasts more than 12 months.

SingleSuperPhosphate: (0-20-0) plus 20% Calcium and 12% Sulfur. max. 2.5 kg/10 square meters (5 pounds/100 square feet). Begins to release in 2-3 months.

Organic Potassium Sources:

Seaweed Meal: (1-0-1.2) plus 33% trace minerals. max. 0.5 kg/10 square meters (1 lb/100 square feet). Lasts 6-12 months.

Wood Ashes: (0-0-1 to 0-0-10) Also raises AP level. max. 1 kg/10 square meters (2 pounds/100 square feet). Lasts more than 12 months.

Compost – that old black magic

All soils benefit from nutrient-rich applications of compost at any time. Composting decomposed organic matter is the best overall soil conditioner. It improves drainage, provides nutrients to plants and provides beneficial microorganisms. Apply at any time of the year and frequently.


Most people overwater their lawns. Lawns need about an inch of water per week. If you haven’t gotten enough rain in the last week to recover a full inch, you can add your own rainwater from your rain barrels. Deep watering is much better than short bursts of water. Soaking the soil once a week will encourage deep root growth that will better withstand dry spells.

Water early in the morning before it gets hot and the water evaporates. Don’t water in the evening, as this leaves the lawn wet at night, which can lead to disease.


Do not cut grass shorter than 3 inches. Longer grass crowds out weeds and is better able to resist pest attacks. Leave nitrogen-rich grass clippings on the lawn to feed it.


One of the main causes of weed problems is compacted soil. Compacted soil stresses and kills the roots of your lawn, allowing weeds to move in and take their place. Aerating the soil allows oxygen to penetrate and restores proper drainage. Most lawns need to be aerated at least twice a year, once in the early spring and once in the fall.

After spring aeration, cover with screen compost and pest-resistant grass seed. Immediately after aerating in the fall, apply organic fertilizers as needed. Mid-season aeration is recommended for heavily thatched lawns.

Use an aerator that leaves a “plug” of dirt on your lawn. By removing some of the soil, you will surely get air and water in the soil. Aerators that just use “thorns” to make a hole could further compact the soil and the holes can quickly fill back up.

remove chaff

Thatch is a dense layer of dead grass stems and roots compacted on the soil surface. It is resistant to decay. A thick layer of straw tends to prevent water from penetrating the ground.

Thatch, thicker than half an inch, encourages insects and disease. Remove thatch in the FALL. If you find in spring that you have a thick layer of thatch, aerate and wait for it to fall. Removing thatch will create some stress on your lawn. It will help if you add a layer of compost afterwards.



Ants are attracted to soil that is dry, nutritionally poor, and low in organic matter. In general, if you increase the organic matter in your soil by covering it with compost, your soil will retain more moisture and the ant problem will take care of itself. You can also apply sand, borax, or bone meal to the mounds.


Bed bugs like lots of straw, dry roots, and low-nitrogen soil. Aerate in spring and summer and de-thatch in fall. If you have hordes of bed bugs and they are killing patches of your lawn, put a cap full of dish soap in a spray can filled with water and soak the problem area. Then place a piece of white flannel over the problem area. Bed bugs will cling to the flannel as they try to escape the soap. In 15 to 20 minutes, vacuum the flannel or rinse in a bucket of insecticidal soap. It sounds crazy but it works.

Cobweb worm moths

If you see small, whitish moths that move quickly, you probably have cobweb worms. The best course of action is to aerate and mulch with endophytic grass and clear in the fall. If you need more help than this, you can try introducing beneficial nematodes as a “natural” control.

white larvae

These worms are smooth and white, with a C-shaped body. They can be from a quarter inch to 3 inches long. And they can cause parts of your lawn to turn brown and die. The best defense is a dense, healthy lawn. Remove thatch, aerate and keep surface moisture to a minimum by watering deeply and infrequently.

Milky Spore Disease – A natural bacteria will control the white grubs for years once it is well established in your soil. You can also try introducing beneficial nematodes.

beneficial nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are nature’s way to effectively control the larval stage (white worms) of the common bumblebee, European bumblebee, Japanese beetle, Asian garden beetle, black vine weevil, strawberry root weevil and the May and June beetles.

They are a safe and sensible way to reduce infestations of white bollworms and other pest insects without harming your lawn or beneficial insects.

How to apply: Normally you just add them to the water and spray on the lawn. Follow your provider’s instructions. A pack of 50 million nematodes will cover 2,500 square meters. foot gold 250 m2 meters


Most weed problems can be attributed to poor soil conditions. Take care of the soil and you also take care of the weeks. Aerate, remove straw, check PH levels, add compost.


This annual plant produces tangled stems that take root quickly in moist, acidic soils. Check your ph level and adjust the acidity. Pull the weeds out by hand and your problem will soon be gone.


All clovers are extremely beneficial for lawns. They fix nitrogen in the soil and are often planted as “green manure”. Clovers attract beneficial insects that feed on nectar. Think twice before deciding to kill this “grass”. If you’re determined to get rid of clover, make a solution of one part vinegar and one part liquid fertilizer (fish fertilizer is best). Spray the clover patch with this mixture. The clover and grass will turn brown, but the fertilizer will bring the grass back.

crab grass

This is a sign of a closed cut and poor aeration. Improve your soil to get rid of crabgrass and pull by hand.

creeping charlie

Creeping Charlie mainly likes shaded areas. To get rid of it, she increases drainage by aerating, removing straw, and adding filtered compost. Allow the soil to dry out in affected areas between waterings.

Lion teeth

Dandelions attract parasitic wasps that help keep populations of caterpillars, flying worms and earwigs low.

You can control dandelions by hand pulling, checking soil ph levels, and mowing the lawn before the dandelions go to seed.


The thistle has a deep root that cannot be easily destroyed. It must be dug out completely as any small pieces left in the ground will grow back. Fill the holes with topsoil and sprinkle with ryegrass.

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