Good Nature Organic Lawn Care Blog

Author: Alec McClennan

How To Stop Animals From Digging Up The Lawn

September 10, 2018 by Alec McClennan

There are a variety of critters who sometimes frequent our lawns and can cause issues while theyre looking for food. Moles tunnel under the ground and can create a mess, especially in the Spring. Skunks and Racoons are more of an issue in the Fall as they work to fatten up for winter. Why are Animals Digging In My Lawn? Animals will dig because theyre hungry. Moles, Skunks, and Racoons all eat a variety of worms, insects, and grubs. Just because you have Animals Digging, it does not mean that you have a grub problem. Animals will dig in search of food and return to places where theyve found food in the past. How Many Grubs is too Many? A healthy lawn can tolerate up to 5 grubs per square foot. An average size lawn is 5000 square feet, so that is 25,000 grubs! Its not possible to kill all the grubs, even if you resort to using a chemical that sits on the lawn for months. Using a natural grub suppression treatment like beneficial nematodes is a good idea to minimize one of the food sources

Posted in How To, Lawn Tips, General, Organic Lawn Care, Natural Pest Solutions

What's Hybrid Organic Lawn Care

March 29, 2017 by Alec McClennan

What is Hybrid Organic Lawn Care? (Spoiler Alert: Its a wolf in sheeps clothing) It seems that choosing an organic lawn care company is getting more difficult. Back in 1999, when Good Nature Organic Lawn Care was founded, there was one type of lawn care company and they all used the same lawn care chemicals. Nobody really questioned whether using chemicals on their lawn was a good idea or not. People assumed that since the chemicals are approved by the government, they must be safe. Truth is, lawn care chemicals are not safe and any lawn care company that tells you that they use safe lawn care chemicals is breaking the law. At Good Nature, we use vegetable meals, proteins, sea plant extracts, humus containing products, plant oils, and micronutrients to keep grass and plants healthy so that they can defend themselves from insects and disease while defending their territory against weed invasion.It might surprise you to know that youll find many of our ingredients in the food you eat and

Posted in General

This Summer's Weather Promoted Lawn Disease

September 27, 2016 by Alec McClennan

Conditions This Bad Not Seen In A Decade! What a summer! Drought-like conditions in July followed by rain, rain and more rain in August. Unfortunately, those are perfect conditions for infectious lawn diseases. Honestly, we havent seen this type of disease-favorable weather in 10 years! Think of it as the perfect storm for lawn disease. Diseases like brown patch, dollar spot, Pythium blight, leaf spot diseases and the appearance of symptoms of summer patch and necrotic ring spot. While temperature and moisture can bring on these diseases, there are other factors that take over once the disease becomes established. Also, some grasses are more affected than others by lawn disease...but all lawns are affected... Kentucky Bluegrass * Less prone to brown patch, dollar spot, gray leaf spot and Pythium blight * Very susceptible to root diseases such as necrotic ring spot and summer patch * Can tolerate some infection * During periods like is past summer, infection-impaired plants cannot

Posted in General

The Return Of The 17-Year Locusts!

April 20, 2016 by Alec McClennan

Theyre baaaack! This year, cicada bugs (a.k.a. 17-year locusts) will emerge in Northeast Ohio. Cicadas live almost all of their 17 year life underground before emerging. When they emerge, cicada nymphs climb trees, shed their skin and fly. The one goal of the flying adult cicada is to mate and produce more cicadas. The good news is that these adult cicadas will live only four to six weeks (males die shortly after mating). But its going to be a noisy four to six weeks. From sunrise to sunset we will be hearing the high pitched and shrill mating song of the males. Where a lot of these insects are present their singing can be quite annoying. Because so many of them (think millions) will descend on us all at once, they can harm your young trees and shrubs. When the female lays her eggs, she looks for the small branches of deciduous trees (not pine trees). This applies to trees like Apple, Cherry, Dogwood, Japanese Maple, Hickory, Oak, Maple, Ash, Holly, Willow, etc. They will even plant

Posted in General

Core vs. Liquid Aeration

April 13, 2016 by Alec McClennan

What is Aeration? More often than not when people have aeration in mind, it is the kind where a machine is used to poke holes in the ground or pull soil-core plugs out of the ground. There are more ways than one to aerate the soil though and, believe it or not, the molehill you may detest so much is actually a sign nature is aerating your lawn for free! Why Your Lawn May Need Aeration? - The soil in your yard is compacted. - Pools of water can be found in spots or all over the lawn after irrigation or rainfall. - Water retention is low and it seems like most of the water is just running straight off when you try to water the lawn. - There are many worn areas in your lawn, maybe where there is high foot traffic. - Your lawn has a lot of thatch built up. No reason: aerating once annually even if you have none of these problems is seeing as air is just as vital for the soil and your lawns root *system as it is for you and me! Proper coring also leaves the plugs on the lawn (little

Posted in General

How to Choose a Lawn Care Company

April 07, 2016 by Alec McClennan

Spring is here and youre wondering what to do with the lawn? Should you hire a Traditional Lawn care company? Hire a Natural Lawn Care Company? Hire an Organic Lawn Care Company? Or, should you just buy lawn fertilizer and treat the lawn yourself? What is the difference between a Natural Lawn Care Company and an Organic Lawn Care Company? Well do the best we can to answer these questions in the blog post below. What is Traditional Lawn Care? When we talk about traditional lawn care, were referring to a program that uses synthetic fertilizers to feed the grass and then uses synthetic pesticides to treat insects, diseases, weeds, and other issues that come up. These synthetic fertilizers and pesticides became popular after World War II and havent been in existence for very long in human history, but long enough to become traditional. Synthetic fertilizers contain water soluble nutrient salts in a form that the plants can readily absorb. The benefit of a water soluble lawn fertilizer

Posted in General

Espoma Lawn Fertilizer Review

March 03, 2016 by Alec McClennan

If youre going to the store trying to decide what is the best organic lawn fertilizer this season, one of the organic product lines youll run into is Espoma Espoma has been around a long time and have been authentically involved in producing organic fertilizers since before it became a hot field. Some of their products are bridge or organic based lawn fertilizers and not truly organic, but they do offer truly organic lawn fertilizers as well. Espoma Organic Lawn Food is a 9-0-0 analysis and is designed for use on your lawn at any time of the year. If youre going to use Espoma Organic Lawn Food, youll probably want to do 4 treatments per year using 5-10 lbs per thousand square feet with each treatment. In the Midwest, you can follow the Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving schedule of applications. Id put down the heavier rate on Easter and Labor Day while leaning towards the lower rate on Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. Espoma Organic Lawn Food is made from 2 organic fertilizer

Posted in General

Brown Spots on Your Lawn

August 26, 2015 by Alec McClennan

Do You Have Brown Spots on Your Lawn? Your Yard May Have Brown Patch Fungus Disease! Brown spots in your grass are unsightly and very discouraging to proud yard owners. Believe it or not, this phenomenon is not normally from dried-out grass that you forgot to water.Indeed, the culprit youre most likely encountering is Brown Patch fungus, a lawn disease that can start for several reasons and tends to be prolific in the hot, humid months of summertime. The resulting irregular brown patches all over your lawn make it look like your yard is dying, when in fact most lawns recover completely when fall returns with cooler weather. A fungal organism is the culprit behind Brown Patch disease. An illustration of what Brown Patch fungus does to grass blades. Improper watering, heavy thatch and poor grasses can all allow Brown Patch disease to thrive on your lawn. Remember, most often your brown spots in grasses are not due to under-watering but instead to the Brown Patch fungus! Contact

Posted in Brown Spots, Lawn, Organic, Lawn Care, Fungus

Seeding and Watering Guidelines

August 26, 2015 by Alec McClennan

New Lawn (Renovation) Watering Guidelines The most important thing to remember for your new lawn to succeed is to KEEP IT WATERED. Week 1 2 Watering Guidelines Keep your lawn wet for the first two weeks by watering each area daily. It should feel moist and not dried out. Morning or afternoon watering is best, but evening is ok if necessary until grass germinates. Manual Sprinkler You can leave the sprinkler in one place for up to three hours but move it if you see water running off the lawn or big puddles. Automatic Sprinkler System Start with 30 minutes per zone and run through the zones multiple times per day as needed to keep the lawn wet. If you see puddles or washout, decrease the amount of time per zone and increase the number of times you run through the zones daily. Weeks 3 4 Watering Guidelines Increase youre watering time per area by 50% but cut back to watering every other day. Water in the morning or afternoon, not the evening. Manual Sprinkler Soak each area of

Posted in Watering, Seeding, Guidelines, Lawn Care, Organic

Neem Cake for Gardening

March 23, 2015 by Alec McClennan

Benefits for Using Organic Neem Cakes as a Soil Amendment The use of Neem, in its various forms, in gardening and farming for amending the soil is a well-known practice. What is good about Neem too is that various research studies have been done, and it has been proven that Neem extracts are non-toxic to humans. These extracts also arent toxic to birds, to beneficial insects and help to protect crops from over 200 crop eating pests. Where does Neem come from? Neem comes from the Neem tree which is a tropical evergreen tree. This tree is native to India as well as other southeastern countries on the globe. Now the Neem tree also has many other uses besides just for enhancing soil. The seeds bark and leaves all contain compounds of the Neem tree are proven antiseptics, antivirals, antipyretics, anti-inflammatories, and antifungals in their uses. The Neem tree is thus called the village pharmacy in India because of all the ways its used. However, Neem does have a garlic-like odor as well

Posted in General

Toledo Toxic Algae and Organic Lawn Care

August 07, 2014 by Alec McClennan

It is absolutely stunning that Toledo, a city along the richest reserve of Fresh Water in America would be without water for 3 days. Heres whats going on in Lake Erie for those of you who dont live in Toledo. Does it look like something youd like to drink? It has been a sea of toxic green algae that makes the water unusable for drinking or bathing. Boiling it wont fix the problem either. What Can We Do To Prevent Toxic Algae? Algae grows when there are excess nutrients in the water to feed it. Many of the nutrients in the Toldeo area come from Farms and Sewage Treatment Plants that allow excess nutrients to runoff down the drains and into the Maumee River which ultimately dumps into Lake Erie. There is not much you can do to prevent farmers from using synthetic fertilizers and raw sewage on their fields (other than lobbying your representatives) but you can make some changes right in your own back yard. Click Here For More Info on How Synthetic Fertilizers Cause other problems

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Lake Erie, Environmental Issues, Algae

How to Fight Mosquitoes Without DEET or Chemicals

July 07, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Wouldnt it be nice if you could enjoy summer without being eaten alive by mosquitoes? Good News - You Can! Read on for some tips to help avoid the itch that comes with Mosquito Bites... How To Avoid Mosquito Bites - Naturally There are a variety of tactics for keeping mosquitoes from biting you but many involve potentially harmful chemicals like DEET or Pyrethroids. Here are some natural methods to fight off mosquitoes: Step 1: Use Mosquito Repelling Soap Studies in the Journal of American Mosquito Control Association show that using Neem Oil and Coconut Oil mixed together will repel mosquitoes for up to 8 hours. Good Nature offers a Neem Oil soap that in addition to Neem contains B Vitamins, Lemon Essential Oil, and Tea Tree Oil. All of which have health benefits as well as mosquito repelling properties. Why not use a healthy soap that also repels mosquitoes? Note that this soap makes no claims of mosquito repelling, but Ive found it to be helpful. Step 2: Consider a Natural

Posted in Mosquitos, Tips

How to Kill Thistles Organically - Without Chemicals

July 07, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Youre heard the saying about a weed being any plant growing where it isnt wanted? I can tolerate a variety of weeds in a lawn, but thistles are not one of them. Thistles are frustrating if youre trying to have a kid friendly lawn - what kid wants to walk barefoot on a prickly thistle? Not mine. So, what to do. I dont want prickly weeds for my kids to step on but also dont want to use potentially dangerous chemicals on the lawn. Here is one approach Ive been using over the last year with good success. Its a little unorthodox, but if youre stuck between a thistle and a chemical, it might just be worth a try for you. Step 1: Purchase a Syringe Yes, its a little strange to use a syringe for organic weed control, but stay with me here. There are a variety of places online that sell syringes...heres a 10 ml syringe that will work well available from a website I used. Step 2: Purchase Adios Organic Weed Killer Adios Organic Weed Killer is a newer organic weed killer that works better

Posted in Weeds, Organic Weed Control, Summer Lawn Tips, Thistle

How to Care for Roses Organically

July 02, 2014 by Alec McClennan

f you want to enjoy beautiful roses without using any chemicals to maintain them, you can! Roses are among the most beautiful shrubs in our landscape and can require a great degree of care. Heres a quick guide for caring for your rose bushes without any chemicals. Step 1: Select a Resistant Rose Variety Rose bushes vary greatly in their susceptibility to a number of pests including diseases (black spot, powdery mildew, cedar apple rust) and insects (japanese beetles love roses). If youre just getting ready to plant roses, you might consider newer varieties that are easy to care for. One brand that has minimal issues is a family called KNOCK OUT Roses. They look great and are relatively easy to care for. Heres a picture of a typical KNOCK OUT Rose. If youre a rose purist, you may be more interested in heirloom varieties which can perhaps be more interesting but also more prone to insect and disease issues. We can help you grow either, but the knockouts are a lower maintenance solution. Step

Posted in Organic Rose Care

Multi Colored Patchy Lawn

May 20, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Is your lawn a variety of colors right now? Chances are its because your lawn is made up of a patchwork of grasses. It is important to know as much as you can about the different types of grasses in your lawn and how they behave so that you know what to expect from them. If the patchy lawn bothers you, you can choose the correct solution. Ive seen a lot of people assume that their dormant Rough Bluegrass is an insect problem. They go out an needlessly apply a potentially dangerous insecticide for no reason that doesnt solve their problem. Knowing the types of grass in your lawn really helps you formulate a plan for your lawn. Here are some grass types that you might be seeing right now in Ohio and throughout the midwest. Rough Bluegrass Rough Bluegrass is a weedy grass type that thrives in wet, shady lawn areas. It has stolons which is a fancy name for an above ground root that allows it to climb over other grasses. Thats why youll see it start in a small patch and get gradually bigger.

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, TurfType Tall Fescue, Lawn Tips

How to Kill Dandelions Without Chemicals

May 13, 2014 by Alec McClennan

They pop up every year at this time and are a sure sign that spring is here. With an all natural approach (like Good Natures) you can expect to have a few dandelions, but you should have far less than you would if you werent treating the lawn at all. Read on for some tips to minimize dandelions without using traditional chemicals. Tip #1: Use Corn Gluten Meal Use an organic fertilizer that feeds the soil and may help minimize new weed germination, like Corn Gluten Meal. Corn Gluten Meal is an excellent slow release natural fertilizer that that contains about 9% Nitrogen as a protein. In addition, Corn Gluten Meal has been shown to suppress new seed germination to some degree. That means that it will help minimize new seeds from turning into plants. Your soil has thousands of weed seeds just waiting for an opportunity to sprout and Corn Gluten Meal can help reduce their chances of sprouting. Note: If you have a lot of dandelions one year, and then you apply Corn Gluten Meal the next spring,

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Corn Gluten Meal, Organic Weed Control, Dandelion

To Roll or Not to Roll?

April 14, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Every spring we get questions about rolling lawns, so is it a good idea? The short answer is no - if you want a healthy lawn, rolling it is not a good idea. Why You Should NOT Roll Your Lawn A healthy soil is made up of about 50% open space that gets filled with air or water depending on the moisture level in your soil. Grass roots actually grow in this empty space between soil particles - not in the dirt. If you dont have enough pore (empty) space in between your soil particles, you wont have healthy roots. If you dont have healthy roots, you can guess what your lawn will look like. Heres a graphical example of a healthy soil: How to Smooth Your Lawn Without Rolling It If your lawn is uneven and just bumpy, heres another idea to try. Step 1: Scalp the Lawn Wait until late summer when the weather is hot and dry and give your lawn a nice scalping. This is about the worst thing you can do for your existing grasses, but thats ok - well fix that in a later step. Step 2: Core

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Winter Lawn Care, Spring Tips

Early Spring Lawn Care Tips

March 28, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Tip 1: Give Your Lawn a Fluff Over the winter lawns will often develop something called snow mold which is just matted down dead looking patches of grass. Snow mold can kill the leaves but 99 times out of 100 it does not kill the plant itself. So, if you use a light leaf rake to fluff it up once it dries out to improve air circulation, the plants should turn green again as they start to grow. If you want to throw a little grass seed down to jumpstart the process after raking, that isnt a bad idea. Tip 2: Buffer Salt to Prevent Crabgrass All the snow over the winter means that there was a lot of salt put down on the roads. Grass doesnt grow well in salty soils, but weeds and especially crabgrass love it. Our Aerify Plus contains humates and soil conditioners which both help salt leach through the soil and buffer the negative effects of salt on your grass and plants. One Hose End Sprayer will cover about 8,000 square feet. Pay special attention to areas that are near the street (tree

Posted in Aeirfy Plus, Organic Lawn Care, Spring Lawn Tips, Choosing An Organic Lawn Care Company, Lawn Tips, Organic Fertilizer, How To, Crab Grass, Organic Weed Control

Beekeepers Sue EPA for Bee-Killing Pesticides

March 28, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Six full yearssince SafeLawns first tried to warn the worldabout the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, beekeepers around the world remain frustrated with government inaction regarding a class of pesticides known as synthetic nicotines. - SafeLawns.org. Read more here.

Posted in Pesticide Dangers, Pesticides

Brrrrr... 3 Ways to Protect Your Plants This Winter!

January 31, 2014 by Alec McClennan

Winter Plant Care Tips: Tip 1: Use Salt in Moderation De-icing salts are useful for keeping walkways clear of slippery ice, but are toxic to most plants. Use caution when applying salt to prevent it from getting onto lawns and planting beds. If de-icing salts have gotten into beds or on lawns, flushing these areas well with water in the spring may help to prevent damage to plants by diluting the salt and preventing salt build up in the soil. We recommend Magic Salt because it contains natural materials that make it more plant friendly but it should still be used in moderation. Click Here to Purchase Magic Salt with Free Home Delivery (to our service areas in Cleveland, Akron Columbus). Tip 2: Water in the Winter? Evergreen plants can lose moisture during the winter through their leaves, especially during cold days when it is sunny or windy. However, this water can not be replaced when the soil is frozen. This can result in tissue desiccation, where the foliage turns brown and may

Posted in Lawn Tips, Magic Salt
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