Education

The key to a successful all-natural Organic Turf Care (OTC) program is to apply the right products with proper cultural practices; one without the other is a set up for failure. This approach is not hard, although it differs in some aspects from conventional turf care practices of the past few decades.

Healthy-Turf-Circle.color_

4 components of Healthy Turf:

Soil Chemistry – Create and maintain a hospitable environment for the soil biology necessary for growing turf by correcting pH and calcium to magnesium imbalances.

Soil Biology – Feed the microbes in the soil an All-Natural Organic Fertilizer so they remain active and in turn can feed the plant.

Soil Structure – Promote the porosity and nutrient holding capacity of the soil by addressing organic matter and CEC deficiencies.

Cultural Practices – Proper mowing, aeration, over-seeding and irrigation practices will have the BIGGEST impact on the overall success of your program!

Soil Testing

Soil testing is the cornerstone to any successful all-natural Organic Lawn Care Program. Grass requires a certain environment to grow, and what occurs underground directly affects what you see above ground.

PJC Ecological uses an independent laboratory to test pH, buffer pH, cation-exchange capacity, base saturation and % organic matter.

Soil testing provides critical information about the current state of the soil. This determines the type and amount of soil amendments needed and is used as a baseline to set expectations. Armed with the results of a soil test, we customize a program to create the healthy environment your grass requires.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers work with nature by feeding the soil biology, which in turn feeds the plant. We use PJC ProHealthy Turf® All Natural Organic Fertilizers with all natural inputs that work to build soil quality and encourage soil biology. PJC ProHealthy Turf® fertilizers are 100% Water Insoluble Nitrogen, there is no contact problem for the applicator, and the area is safe for use by people and pets immediately after application. PJC ProHealthy Turf® Fertilizers have been proven in the marketplace since 1995
  • Soybean Based.  No manure or sewage sludge

  • No phosphorous for water sensitive areas

  • No burning, slow release  (lasts 7-10 weeks)

  • Meets USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards

  • OMRI listed and approved for use by NOFA 

  • On the USDA BioPreferred Product list.

Mowing

In an All Natural Organic Turf Care (OTC) program proper mowing heights has a significant impact on the success of the program. Higher mowing heights contribute to shading the soil which directly affects soil temperature and blocking sunlight to the soil surface. Both of these, cooler soil temperature and lack of sunlight discourage weed seed germination.

With more surface area the turf grass is able to carry on greater levels of photosynthesis. Through increased levels of photosynthesis, a deeper, more vigorous root system is developed. Greater root mass enables the turf grass to be more wear resistance, drought tolerant, and endure greater stress. On the flip side mowing short stresses the grass and allows the soil to heat up more quickly encouraging the growth of summer weeds. Another benefit of a healthy root system is the addition of as much as ½ to 4 tons of organic matter per acre to the soil on an annual basis.

Mowing heights should change over the course of the growing season starting at 2 ½ ” in early spring – moving to 3”to 4” by June and ending the season in November at 2 ½ ”. When mowing, cut no more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Grass should ideally be maintained between 3 ½ – 4”.

Watering

Watering should be deep, infrequent and in the morning. Grass should receive ¾” – 1” of water a week through natural rain fall or irrigation. If irrigating this may mean that each zone is in operation for 50 minutes to an hour depending on flow rate (1-2 times a week). To test how much water is being delivered, use a small can and measure the water collected.

During extreme heat the grass should be watered more frequently for shorter periods. Over watering can lead to soil compaction and disease.

Over-seeded areas: Water 2X a day for approximately 10 – 15 minutes, mid-morning & afternoon, to ensure soil and seed stay moist – not wet. Maintain watering schedule until seed germinates, approximately two – three weeks. Once the seed germinates, cut back watering to once per day in the morning, then every other day, then twice per week as the root system gets establishes. Once germination is complete you need to water 1 inch weekly to maintain a healthy lawn. Grass can take up to 18 months to become fully established.

Over-Seeding

A dense stand of turf is the best way to crowd out weeds. Grass like any crop must be regularly planted to ensure the highest yield (thickest lawn). Since grass is cut before it goes to seed it is necessary to periodically over-seed.

In spring we recommend seed slicing to avoid bringing weed seeds to the surface using a Tri Rye perennial grass seed known for its quick germination.

Late summer/early fall is the best time to repair thin turf by broadcast over seeding when aerating using a combination of rye grass, blue grass and fescues.

Trouble spots and bare areas should be repaired. Break up soil with iron rake, mix seed with loam/compost and cover area with soil/seed mixture. (soil to seed contact is necessary).

If budget is an issue fall over seeding should be the priority because you have the best chance of success. Don’t go cheap when it comes to grass seed! Use a high-quality grass seed that has a germination rate of >90%.

Aeration

Aeration refers to a mechanical means to relieve compaction of the soil. Compacted soil favors weed growth over grass. When aerating, soil cores are cut and returned to the lawn allowing grass roots to spread and breathe. For most residential lawns the general recommendation would be once per season, in the fall. Mid-August through the beginning of October is the best time to aerate when root growth is most vigorous. We recommend aeration in the fall to avoid bringing spring weed seeds to the surface. Over-seeding is always encouraged when core aerating.

Grass Clippings

In an All-Natural Turf Care program grass clipping should be returned. With a healthy ecosystem the return of clippings adds valuable organic matter to the soil and serves as a natural fertilizer equal to one application per season. The healthy soil biology will breakdown the grass clippings plus you save on labor by not needing to bag and dispose of the clippings.