The Part of Your Lawn You May Not Think About
Did you know that the soil in which your grass lives is actually partly alive? Soil is made up of sand, clay, silt, microorganisms, air , and organic material. The combination makes an ecosystem in your back yard. The organic material and microorganisms is what sets soil apart from plain old dirt and makes it possible for things to grow in it. The organic material present in soil is generally a decayed animal or plant, or the waste of them (think about how cow doody makes a great fertilizer – it’s the same concept).
The organic material in soil gets used up when something grows, leaving behind very unfertile land. A way they used to combat this issue in medieval times was the Three Field System. Different vegetable require different nutrients to grow. Some require very fertile land whereas others don’t need as much. The people of that time period combatted the lack of organic material by rotating the crops placement from year to year. Certain crops would leave behind the nutrients that other crops would thrive on and the system worked to prevent starvation in those hard times.
Nowadays we are very fortunate to have access to many ways that we can keep soil fertile regardless of use when it comes to your lawn:
1) Mulch the grass when mowing your lawn. The clippings act as a natural fertilizer and give back to the grass what is taken away with each mow. Mowing can be stressful for grass, especially when you remove more than a third of the blade at once.
2) Create a compost pile. Compost is another way to fertilize naturally. Any organic material will work; fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, the leaves in your gutters, etc. After the pile has some time to break down, you can spread it on the lawn like any other fertilizer.
3) Buy fertilizer or hire someone to lay it down for you. The best part about lawn care in today’s world is that some awesome companies have formulated the perfect fertilizer for grass! Generally there is a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, Instead of hoping that these nutrients end up in your compost pile, they are already guaranteed to be in the mix. Some brands even formulate their fertilizer into time release pearls (us here at Erbert Lawns) so that the lawn is continually fed. The food generally lasts about a month or so until you need to give it more. And if you crave a lush green lawn, this is a must!
Understanding what is behind the scenes of your lawn can help you take better care of the soil and also help you diagnosis whether issues in the lawn are related to the soil or the grass itself.