People worry about the safety of chemical-based products. The demand for organic weed control in lawns has exploded. Are they reliable? Weed & Feed Lawn Food from Purely Organic Products is made of ingredients you'll recognize, like corn and soy; enhanced with a botanical oil blend for effective, post-emergent, broadleaf weed control. Weed & Feed protects your grass while it fertilizes to promote a lush, green lawn. Want a lush, chemical-free lawn? Here are 5 steps to help you break your lawn's addiction to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
Is There Such a Thing as Effective Organic Weed Control in Lawns?
These days, more and more homeowners prefer organic weed control in lawns. You might see the do-it-yourself types of people pouring boiling water or vinegar on their weeds. Others are out there every weekend, yanking dandelions and crabgrass by hand. It’s backbreaking work, and the truth is that the satisfaction these methods produce is fleeting.
One problem with these weed control methods is that they do nothing to prevent weed seeds from spreading and sprouting. These weed removal methods can also leave pieces of the roots alive in the ground, and it’s just a matter of time before they regenerate another weed above the soil’s surface.
The idea of organic weed control is compelling. It’s understandable that people might worry about the safety of chemical-based products. We know you want your weeds gone, but also you want to feel that your kids and pets are safe playing on your lawn. Keep reading to learn more about your best bets when it comes to organic weed control in lawns.
Start with Organic Fertilizers
How can organic fertilizers kill weeds? Well, they don’t directly eradicate weeds, but they can promote turf health. The thicker and healthier your grass shoots are, the better job they will do of squeezing out the weeds. Healthy grass makes good use of sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil. When your grass is using up these resources, less is available to weed plants. Eventually, the intruders will die out.
Thick grass also shades the soil below. This can be all it takes to prevent many weed seeds from germinating. Spreading organic fertilizer based on manure or worm castings can do a great job of boosting turf health and slowing the growth of weeds.
Steam Away the Weeds
There are products on the market that allow homeowners to kill their weeds with the power of steam. They work much like the steam machines you might use to take the wrinkles out of your delicate clothing. It looks a bit like an old vacuum, but the tank holds tap water that’s super-heated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You simply point the rigid hose down at your weeds and pull the trigger.
While steaming away your weeds might seem easier than pulling them, it’s important to note that the steam will damage or kill all of the foliage it contacts. Plus, some weeds will require more than one steaming before they are killed. And, you will need to come up with a feasible way to lug the water tank around your yard – it does not come with a wheeled cart or backpack apparatus.
Pull Weeds By Hand
A handful of stray weeds here and there are nothing to fret about. No matter how healthy your grass is, we all experience a few weeds from time to time. If you’re only seeing a small number of isolated weeds, it’s reasonable to pull them by hand. There are even tools on the market that make it easy to pull weeds from the root without even bending over.
Crabgrass and clover are two kinds of weeds that spread rapidly. When your weeds become widespread and unmanageable, it’s time to look at sprayable or spreadable solutions.
Products for Organic Weed Control in Lawns
Organic weed control options tend to be concentrates based on acetic acid (vinegar), citric acid, and other fairly benign ingredients. Because these products are concentrated, it’s still best to have a lawn care professional apply them to your lawn. You can still damage your grass if you use these organic products incorrectly.
In addition, there are organic herbicides on the market that wipe out all foliage they are sprayed on – including all grasses. If you insist on buying and applying your weed control products yourself, read labels closely to make sure you buy the correct type of weed control product.
Options for Atlanta’s Organic Weed Control in Lawns
Kemko Lawn & Shrub is a trusted source of information for Atlanta’s organic weed control needs. With more than 30 years of experience bringing Atlanta’s lawns to life, we know what it will take to get you the thick, green lawn you really want. Our team is eager to answer your questions about organic lawn care and anything else you want to know about weed control.
Get Your Free Weed Control Estimate Now
Kemko offers a complimentary, no-obligation estimate to all of our new clients. We make it easy for you to gather information and comparison shop for a trustworthy lawn care expert. All you have to do is complete our online form, and one of our teammates will get back to you as fast as possible.
Ready to learn more about organic weed control in lawns? Contact Kemko today.
10-0-2 Purely Organic Products Weed & Feed Lawn Food (15 Lbs – Covers 3000 Sq Ft)
Weed & Feed Lawn Food is made with natural, plant based ingredients — enhanced with botanical oils — to help reduce existing weed infestations and prevent new ones. It also fertilizers to provide the nutrients needed for a lush, green lawn for you and your family. This 15 Pound bag covers up to 3,000 Square Feet of turf.
- Effective Post-Emergent Weed Control
- Feeds & Fertilizes Up to 8 Weeks
- Will Not Burn Your Lawn
- Plant Based Formula with Botanical Oils
- No Manure, No Biosolids = No Unpleasant Odors
- Growing Tips
Weed & Feed Lawn Food is made with natural, plant based ingredients — enhanced with botanical oils — for effective post-emergent, broadleaf weed control. It also fertilizers to provide the nutrients needed for a lush, green lawn for you and your family. This 15 Pound bag covers up to 3,000 Square Feet of turf.
Rich in Nutrients: Purely Organic Products Weed & Feed Lawn Food is NPK rated 10-0-2 to promote thick, lush, green turf. It will feed your lawn for up to 8 weeks between applications.
Effective Post-Emergent Weed Control & Lawn Fertilizer: In addition to being a top rated fertilizer, Weed & Feed Lawn Food is enhanced with botanical oils — Clove Oil & Eugenol — to kill pre-existing common weeds including dandelion, purslane (duckweed, little hogweed), chickweed, henbit deadnettle, thistle, plantain weed, curly dock (yellow dock), spotted spurge, speedwell, pineapple weed, ragweed, horsetail, and more.
|Unlike fast acting spot treatments that can kill grass and neighboring plants, Weed & Feed Lawn Food works gently but effectively over 30-45 days to kill existing weeds while feeding your lawn to thicken grass, strengthen root systems, cover bare spots, and crowd out future infestations.|
Will Not Burn Your Lawn When Used as Directed: At Purely Organic Products we believe that plant and garden care products should be good for plants, and easy for gardeners too. Our Weed & Feed Lawn Food is made with natural ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals and mineral salts, so it won’t burn or yellow your grass when used as directed. It is convenient with no restrictions on re-entry time (for pets or people) after application.
What to Put in It & What to Leave Out: One of the first decisions we made when developing our Weed & Feed Lawn Food was what NOT to put in it. With more than 30 years in the lawn care business we knew that many popular fertilizer products were made with harsh chemicals, manure and even bio-solids (organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage — yes, you’re reading that right).
We have picnics on our lawns, and our children and pets play on them, so we use natural, plant based ingredients to create our Lawn Food products.
No Added Phosphates: Purely Organic Products Weed & Feed Lawn Food is made without added phosphates so it meets and exceeds local environmental regulations limiting Phosphate usage in municipalities across the USA.
Effective Post-Emergent Weed Control & Lawn Fertilizer: This combination product is designed to feed your lawn and kill pre-existing common weeds. When used as directed, it will not harm established turf grass and lawns. DO NOT APPLY TO FOOD CROPS. Do not apply to newly seeded grass until it has had a chance to grow for at least 8-10 weeks with regular weekly mowings.
Choose the Right Day: For best results apply on a calm day when weeds are growing; and daytime temperatures are between 60-90º F on a consistent basis.
Prepare Your Lawn: Weed & Feed Lawn Food works best when grass is wet from dew or irrigation, not from rain, prior to application so the granules can adhere to growing weeds.
Set Your Spreader: Set your drop or rotary spreader to deliver fertilizer at a rate of 4-8 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. of grass. Individual spreader settings will vary; but common settings are listed below.
|Earthway® & Similar Broadcast (Rotary) Spreaders||15.0|
|Scotts® Basic, Turf Builder® EdgeGuard®, LawnPro® & Similar Broadcast (Rotary) Spreaders||6.0|
|Scotts® EasyGreen® & Similar Broadcast (Rotary) Spreaders||26.0|
|Vigoro & Similar Broadcast (Rotary) Spreaders||5.0|
|Scotts® Turf Builder® Classic, EverGreen®, AccuGreen® & Similar Drop Spreaders||7.0|
|Click Here for Additional Lawn Food Fertilizer Spreader Settings|
Apply: Working back and forth in steady rows, apply Weed & Feed evenly across your entire lawn.
Clean Up for the Environment: Get the most out of your lawn care, and protect the environment, by sweeping excess or stray particles — that land in the driveway, sidewalk or street — back onto the lawn.
Activate: Water your lawn lightly after application to activate the fertilizer; and keep application areas moist, but not saturated, with additional watering over the next 3-4 days.
Give Weed & Feed Time to Work: Weed & Feed Lawn Food needs time to work! It may take 30-45 days for weeds to die out after application. For particularly bad infestations consider a second application of Weed & Feed Lawn Food after the first 30 days.
Sucess Tip: If your lawn has significant weed infestation before application, bare spots left by dead weeds may need to be overseeded after application. Use Purely Organic Products Turf Restore (or a similar product) to help restore your lawn.
Important Note: The instructions above are for use as a guide only. For complete instructions for use and safety precautions review the back of your product package and the manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet.
A Well Fed Lawn is a Happy Lawn: Just like you, your lawn needs nutrient rich food to grow and flourish. We recommend feeding with one of our Lawn Food products about four times a year — with the first feed in the early spring and the last in the late fall — for a lush, healthy lawn.
Water Well & Often: Healthy, well fed, lawns are more efficient at absorbing water and nutrients. Water your lawn every few days to provide approximately 1″ of moisture (including rainfall) per week. (A typical sprinkler takes 3-4 hours to provide 1″ of water.)
Mow Like a Pro: Never remove more than 1/3 of the blade of grass when mowing. During times of stress (for instance in the hot summer) keep grass longer to protect the plant. Leaving clippings on the lawn allows plant nutrients to recycle back to the soil.
Is Weed & Feed Safe for Use Around Animals & People? Weed & Feed from Purely Organic Products is an EPA “Minimum Risk Pesticide” which poses little to no risk to human health or the environment. There are no re-entry restrictions after application of Weed & Feed so you can allow pets, people and other animals back onto your lawn immediately after application.
Does This Fertilizer Need to be Watered in After Application? For the best results you should water your lawn or turf lightly after application to activate the fertilizer. If rain is due within 2-3 days of application then the fertilizer can be left on the lawn until the rain activates it.
Can I seed my lawn AFTER applying Weed & Feed? Yes. Combination lawn food products — like Weed & Feed, Grub & Feed, and Crabgrass Defender Lawn Food — can be used to help bring weeds, grubs and crabgrass under control prior to seeding. For best results, wait 2 weeks after Weed & Feed Lawn Food application to lay down new seed to help thicken your lawn and cover any bare spots caused by diminishing weeds.
Can I seed my lawn BEFORE applying Weed & Feed? No, Weed & Feed should not be applied to newly seeded grass. If your grass is new, use natural, plant based 10-0-2 Lawn Food as a starter fertilizer instead. Once grass is established, after 8-10 weeks, it is safe to use Weed & Feed to help control weeds while feeding your lawn.
What is the N-P-K Ratio of This Product? Weed & Feed Lawn Food has an NPK Rating of 10-0-2 or 10% Nitrogen (N), 0% Phosphorus (P), and 2% Potassium (K).
Why Aren’t There Any Phosphates (Phosphorus) in Your Lawn Food? Many states and local municipalities restrict or prohibit the application of Phosphates on lawns and turf; because of the negative environmental impact of excess phosphorus on local water quality, plant and animal life.
Can I Use a Handheld Spreader with Lawn Food? We recommend using a rolling broadcast or drop spreader with our products because they tend to provide more even and measurable coverage. If you’re planning to use a hand held spreader we recommend applying 4-5 pounds of fertilizer per 1000 square feet of lawn turf. (There are approximately 4 cups of fertilizer per pound.)
- Lawn Food: Apply about 4-5 times per year about 6-8 weeks apart. For more information about when to feed, download our Lush Lawn Guide.
- Crabgrass Defender Lawn Food: If you’ve had problems with Crabgrass infestations in the past, replace your first Lawn Food application each year with Crabgrass Defender Lawn Food. A second spring application, 30-35 days after the first, may be needed if your lawn has a particularly bad history with crabgrass. In the fall replace your final Lawn Food application with Crabgrass Defender Lawn Food as broadleaf weeds begin to establish root systems in preparation for the following year.
- Weed & Feed: If you have common summer weeds (like dandelions, purslane, chickweed, thistle, ragweed, etc) replace your regular Lawn Food applications with Weed & Feed. If Weeds are particularly bad, shorten application times to every 4-6 weeks for extra weed killing and lawn boosting power.
- Grub & Feed: If you’ve had problems with grubs, or other sub-surface pests, in the past; replace your first summer Lawn Food application (usually in July) with Grub & Feed; and then follow that up with an additional application of Grub & Feed 30 days later.
Can I Use Weed & Feed to Control Crabgrass? Not really. Weed & Feed is designed to kill actively growing broadleaf weeds — like dandelions, purslane, chickweed, ragweed, etc — rather than grassy weeds like Crabgrass. To control Crabgrass consider a pre-emergent product like Crabgrass Control Lawn Food instead.
I Just Spread Weed & Feed on My Lawn; but the Weeds Aren’t Dead? The botanical oils in Weed & Feed will NOT instantly kill weeds like some spot treatments (with harmful chemicals that can burn grass and other nearby plants at the same time as they’re killing weeds). Instead they work naturally over the first 30-45 days to kill existing broadleaf weeds while feeding your lawn to thicken grass, cover bare spots, and crowd out future infestations
Purely Organic Products Weed & Feed Lawn Food
Clove Oil 3%, Eugenol 2.5%, Inert Ingredients (Corn Gluten Meal, Urea, Potassium Acetate, Water, Soap, Soybean Flour, Wintergreen Oil, Cottonseed Meal) 94.5%.
How to Treat Your Lawn Organically
Break your lawn’s addiction to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides and choose organic lawn care instead.
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A mere glance at “keep out of reach of children” label on most pesticides and herbicides and you’ll might find yourself worrying about harmful chemicals you’re spraying on your lawn.
Instead, you can go organic and chemical-free to get a lush and healthier lawn. Here’s how you can break your lawn’s addiction to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
How Do I Treat My Lawn Organically?
The underlying philosophy behind organic lawn care is this: healthy, chemical-free soil begets robust lawns that can virtually take care of themselves.
After years of being inundated by chemicals to fend off grubs, eradicate weeds, and green up the turf, the natural capacity of the soil to perform these tasks itself has ceased operation, practitioners say. Cut it off from the chemicals cold turkey, and you’ll get things running again—naturally.
And once the soil’s healthy, you might never have to deal with pesticides, herbicides, even fertilizers again. “That’s the thing about going organic,” says Eileen Gunn of Beyond Pesticides, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group. “Not only do you get a nice, safe, healthy lawn, it is also a more sustainable one over the long term.”
Is Organic Lawn Care Better?
Not only is it more environmentally friendly, and safer—your lawn will also look better than ever. Libby Scancarello fired her lawn-care company and hired PureLawn Organic Lawncare, a Cincinnati-based company that uses only chemical-free fertilizers and biological pest and disease control. “I haven’t looked back since,” says Scancarello, adding that her yard looks as lush as ever.
Transitioning to Organic Lawn Care in 5 Steps
1. Start with a Soil Test
The first step in going the organic route with an existing lawn is beefing up weakened soil, which means starting with a soil test. That way you’ll know which nutrients are lacking and which organic amendments you’ll need to incorporate. For example, soil with a calcium deficiency can be top-dressed with gypsum; and soil low in magnesium might need a healthy dose of the mineral langbeinite.
You will need to dig up samples from several different areas of your lawn (2 cups of soil total), and mail them off to a lab to be analyzed. Call local nurseries and university extension offices to see if they offer soil tests (both should provide soil-sample boxes).
Once you know which amendments you need, you should prepare the lawn by mowing the grass down to about 2 inches, pulling up weeds, removing thatch (dead grass and roots that accumulate on the surface), and aerating (a power aerator that pulls up plugs of soil can be found at most rental yards). This will enable your soil to fully absorb any amendments you add.
2. Start Composting
Whatever the test results, you’ll also want to spread a half-inch of compost on the lawn to add essential organic matter to the soil. Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual, and founder of Safe Lawns, sees compost treatments as the basis for all organic lawn care. “It’s almost like a blood transfusion,” he says. “It improves soil structure—especially in clay or sand-heavy soil—and is full of beneficial organisms, including bacteria, algae, fungi, and nematodes, that keep your soil healthy.”
Look for compost that is made up of decomposed organic plant material, similar to the stuff you find on the forest floor. You can buy it at nurseries, or collect your own yard waste in a backyard bin. Many municipalities have composting programs, which provide information on how to compost and, sometimes, discounted composting bins. Tukey also recommends speeding up your lawn’s transition to organic by brewing your own compost tea and spraying it on your lawn once a month with a backpack sprayer or a watering can.
How to Compost: 7 Essential Steps
3. Use Organic Lawn Fertilizers
Organic lawn fertilizers are another effective way to give your lawn an occasional boost during the growing season. Available at most garden centers, the best organic lawn fertilizers contain natural ingredients such as seaweed for potassium, bone meal for phosphorous, and feather meal for nitrogen.
Unlike conventional fertilizers, which deliver a heavy, instant dose of synthetic nitrogen (as well as phosphorous and potassium) for your lawn to binge on, Turkey says organics provide an easier-to-handle diet of nutrients that are released more slowly.
The thicker your grass, the more easily it can crowd out weeds. So once your soil’s been treated, overseed the lawn using an appropriate turf grass (ask your garden center for recommendations). Choose a seed mix that suits your climate, sun/shade conditions, and moisture needs, and make sure it blends well with your existing lawn. Water daily until new growth is established.
The Complete Guide to Lawn Fertilizer Services
4. Look for a ‘Greener’ Grass
You can make your lawn even more sustainable by overseeding it, or completely replacing it, with native or organic grass seed. Las year, DLF Organic became the first U.S. company to offer USDA-certified organic lawn seed, grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
The company offers three seed mixes: one for sun, one for shade, and one that’s mixed with nitrogen-providing clover. Another “green” option is using native turf-grass seed. Since these seeds are familiar with their regional soil conditions and average rain fall, they require less water and are more disease-resistant than non-natives, such as Kentucky bluegrass (from Europe) and St. Augustine grass (from Africa).
The best known is buffalograss. a native prairie grass that extremely drought-resistant and, since it’s low-growing, only needs to be mowed about once a month. (For more info, visit Pawnee Buttees Seeds)
Researchers at a few universities throughout the U.S. are exploring the potential of other native grasses for use as turf grass, including blue grama, a warm-season grass thats native to the Great Plains and Southwest, and Idaho bentgrass, which is native to the western United States and shows promise as a sustainable turf in dryer climate.
5. Whacking Weeds and Pests
We’re not gonna lie to you. Making the transition to organic lawn care might mean dealing with some weeds. At least for the first year or two as your soil and grass gain enough strength to control them naturally.
One thing you can do to prevent weeds is spread corn gluten meal-an organic weed preventative-on your lawn in the spring. Just don’t do it when you’re overseeding, since it prevents germination of all seeds, including grass. While corn gluten meal works only 65 percent as well as chemical herbicides, it can still significantly reduce weed infestations.
If a few isolated weeds show up, pull them by hand or try an organic weed killer, such as Nature’s Avenger, a spray containing citrus oil, which dehydrates weeds down to the roots. Some gardeners swear by vinegar to do the same.
Weeds can be helpful indicators of specific problems with your soil, however. Got crabgrass? It can point to soil compaction, since it usually appears in highly trafficked areas, such as along driveways or walkways. Instead of zapping it with pesticides, get to the root of the problem by aerating the area where it’s growing. “You can kill the messenger all day long,” says Turkey, “but it doesn’t change the message that something is wrong with your soil.”
And not all weeds are out to destroy your lawn; some can even help it. Clover, for example, is a common broadleaf weed that works as a natural fertilizer factory, transforming nitrogen in the air into a digestible form for your soil. Some organic-lawn-care experts actually recommend adding a pound of clover seed for every 1000 square feet of lawn.
Insects and fungal diseases can also point to lawn problems. Chinch bugs are attracted to dry, drought-stressed lawns; and watering at night, especially in warm weather, can encourage fungal diseases like dollar spot or brown patch, since turf stays moist for longer.
There are organic solutions in the battle of the bugs, too. For example, beneficial nematodes can take care of grub worms, which chew through grass roots. These spray-on microscopic organisms target-and devour-grubs and grubs only, never harming beneficial organisms, though the timing of their application is critical.
Ongoing Organic Lawn Care and Maintenance Tips
When it comes to mowing a naturally grown lawn, conventional wisdom still applies.
Find out the Best Height for the Grass You’re Growing
Pro2Pro Tip: Be sure to mow with a mulching attachment or a mulching reel mower and leave the clippings where they fall; they’re a natural source of nitrogen as they decompose.
Cut it too short and it doesn’t develop the strong, healthy roots it needs to fend off weeds and disease. So find out the best height for the type of turf you’re growing.
- Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and red fescue, prefer to be between 3 to 4 inches high
- Warm-season varieties like Bermuda grass can be maintained at 1 to 1 1/2 inches.
Organic Lawns Require Less Water than Chemically Treated Ones
When it comes to conserving water, the good news is that organically-cared-for lawns require less water than chemically treated ones, since the latter needs lots of moisture just to digest all the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides fed to them.
As with any lawn, the key is to water infrequently and deeply, encouraging turf to send down deep roots and making it less susceptible to drought and disease.
The best time to water is early morning, since it gives your lawn plenty of time to absorb it and dry off in the sun. Most lawns require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week in summer. Use a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn’s getting; and make sure your sprinkler water isn’t being wasted on your driveway or street.
With a little patience and a slight change in thinking, you’ll be rewarded with a handsome lawn that’s easier on the earth-and on your conscience. “The best thing is that I now have total peace of mind about my yard,” says Libby Scancarello. “I want to put a little sign out front that says ‘Chemical-free,’ so my neighbors can see for themselves just how nice an organic lawn can be.”