Espoma_safe_paws02Healthy lawns make stunning ‘picture frames’ for beautiful flower gardens. And I’m not taking about chemically-dependent lawns! With all of the wonderful organic products now available, there is truly no excuse to be spreading chemicals that negatively impact children, pets, wildlife and our groundwater. Stop it!…..pretty please?

weedpreventer_EspomaAs many of you know, my family used to live in Ballston Spa (upstate NY). The property has been featured in many gardening magazines – not only for the striking gardens but also for the lush green lawn that thrived on organic care. Every spring we would apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer that also contained a pre-emergent weed killer. Our product of choice is Espoma’s Organic Weed Preventer. Don’t let the name fool you. Yes, Espoma Organic Weed Preventer targets dandelions, crabgrass and other common weeds but it is also rich in nitrogen (9-0-0). The product is made from 100% pure, granulated corn gluten meal (a byproduct of milled corn). Children and pets can romp around on the lawn immediately after applying it. No little flags warning of beware of recently used poisons!

crabgrassIf crabgrass control is one of your goals, be sure to spread Organic Weed Preventer at the correct time. Corn gluten kills plants just as seeds start to germinate. If you miss this window and crabgrass has already sprouted and leafed out, then corn gluten acts as a fertilizer, fueling growth! Crabgrass is an annual grass and germinates in spring. For crabgrass control, apply Organic Weed Preventer when forsythia bushes begin to bloom (or when your county extension agent says crabgrass germinates in your area). Follow application directions, including watering in the Preventer, not applying if a lot of rain is expected, and never using it when seeding a new lawn or over-seeding. Corn gluten is effective for approximately six weeks.
For more information on growing organic lawns check out Espoma’s web site that is a wealth of great information, including how-to videos.