How Natural Lawn Care Improves Soil Quality
A well-manicured lawn adds a home’s value while enhancing its curb appeal. A study on the features home buyers look for when buying property revealed that 60% of them make buying decisions based on a home’s landscape. Well, keeping a neat and weed-free lawn is no easy feat. Apart from regular weeding and mowing, soil quality plays a critical role in a lawn’s health. Without nutritious soil to feed and nurture the grass, you can only dream about a thriving lawn. For a long time, artificial fertilizers have been used to enhance the soil’s nutritional value. However, as more homeowners embrace natural lawn care practices, organic fertilizers have improved soil fertility without causing severe long-term effects. Before looking at other ways natural fertilizers enhance soil quality, it’s important to perform a soil test on your lawn to evaluate its health.
What is a Soil Test?
A soil test measures the soil’s acidity and alkalinity to enable landscapers to perform corrective actions that can restore the PH to the desired range. Limestone is applied on extremely acidic soils while acidifying fertilizers are used on alkaline soils. Soil tests also show the ideal amount of limestone, fertilizers, and sulfur to enhance growth while correcting soil PH. This is because lawns have long growing periods and need multiple fertilizers applications to provide essential nutrients sufficient for plant growth.
1. Provide Essential Minerals and Nutrients
While regular soil has nutrients, fertilizers ensure plants can access a balanced mix of nutrients. Natural fertilizers are a by-product of animals and vegetable waste, and once the decomposing matter breaks down, they provide essential nutrients to the soil and the lawn. In addition, the decomposing process is slow allowing plants to absorb the fertilizer naturally without over-fertilizing them. Also, other soil characteristics like air circulation and draining are improved in the process. It explains the need for a compost pile where you can dispose of food waste which you can use on your lawn later as manure.
2. Biodegradeable Components
One of the primary reasons for the increasing shift towards natural lawn care is its continued use of biodegradable components. Organic fertilizers don’t contain harmful compounds hence barely pose an environmental hazard even with increased use. On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers contain chemicals that don’t break down easily and leach into the soil, finding their way to water systems. When sprayed on lawns, they pose a danger to pets and kids who may be playing on the grass.
3. Improves Soil Structure
Natural lawn care fertilizers improve the overall soil structure by enhancing air circulation and water infiltration. It explains why soils with repeated application of cattle manure are less compact under foot than others. Also, farm manure is long known to increase porosity, reduce evaporation rates, and improve the soil’s water holding capacity.
4. Improves the Organic Content of Soils
Constant cultivation and erosion reduce the soil’s organic content. The application of organic lawn fertilizer like cattle manure increases organic matter content and improves soil productivity. On the other hand, inorganic fertilizers destroy soil structure and texture, increasing acidity due to the nutrients’ leaching effect. This soil degradation and nutrient imbalance reduce crop yield (in this case, grass lawn growth).
5. Improves Soil PH
Organic fertilizers improve soil PH by providing the organic matter that acts as a buffer against soil acidity. This is because manure with low organic content and high levels of ammonium nitrogen reduces the PH.
Note, manure can also be used to increase the soil PH; it all depends on the source of the organic matter and the soil characteristics. Studies show manure with high carbonate and organic matter content are best used to increase the soil PH and creating a buffer against changes in soil PH.
Soil nutrient management is an essential natural lawn care practice if you want a healthy lawn year-round. The application of organic manure or fertilizer is an effective means of nurturing the grass lawn and enhancing soil quality. This is because the fertilizer has high organic content that provides an excellent balance of nutrients, improving the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties.