An organic lawn care program works with nature, not against it. This gives the lawn just what it needs to be green and healthy, and more resistant to diseases and pests.

This program is also safer for children, pets, and our aquifers and therefore, our drinking water. It also saves money in the long run, since it takes less fertilizer, pesticides, and fungicides overall.

†When starting an organic program, fertilize your lawn two times a year: April and late September/early October. A third fertilization, in June, could be added, if wanted.

This program works best when grass clippings are left on the lawn, and other organic practices are followed that protect the good activity in the soil.

Although, one will not see as fast of a green-up as if using a chemical fertilizer program. However, you will achieve a healthier, sustainable green ó with patience. There may be a transition period when going from chemical to organic lawn care programs.

It is recommended that you use compost on your lawn to help with micro-organism. One should do this early in the spring, and/or in the fall, spread compost on your lawn, one-half inch or less, and water in.

This practice amends the soil, improves drainage, boosts beneficial organisms, helps decrease thatch, and helps hold in moisture. According to some sources, topdressing can reduce water requirements by 50 percent!

Where your soil is compacted or contains heavy clay, aeration is the most successful solution, especially when preceded by topdressing.

Manual aerators are great to help those foot-worn paths, but for an entire lawn, renting a gas-powered aerator is easiest.

A good watering program is to water deep and less often than shallow and more often.

Deep watering means deeper roots! Mow no more than 1/3 of the grass bladesí height at a time. This avoids stress and also encourages a deeper root system. Deeper roots mean less watering! Keep mower blades sharp; ragged cuts invite more disease. Leave your grass clippings on the yard and all organic matter.

There are many different ways and methods of having an organic earth friendly yard.† Be sure that when you decide to start your yard on an organic program that you come up with a plan and stick with the plan.†

It is important to draw out your yard and include all plants that are there and all shaded areas. When adding plants to an area, be sure that itís calculated to what a plantís mature size will be.†

If you have questions, check with your local master gardener or your county extension office on safe and helpful test to have a beautiful organic lawn.

We encourage you to visit one of our expo sponsors, who will have free tickets in early March. For a complete list of sponsors, as well as further information on the expo, visit www.ecmga.com.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m. -5 p.m. for the 11th annual Lawn & Garden Expo at the Waxahachie Civic Center.