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Toledo Toxic Algae and Organic Lawn Care

August 07, 2014 by Alec McLennan

It is absolutely stunning that Toledo, a city along the richest reserve of Fresh Water in America would be without water for 3 days. Heres whats going on in Lake Erie for those of you who dont live in Toledo. Does it look like something youd like to drink? It has been a sea of toxic green algae that makes the water unusable for drinking or bathing. Boiling it wont fix the problem either. What Can We Do To Prevent Toxic Algae? Algae grows when there are excess nutrients in the water to feed it. Many of the nutrients in the Toldeo area come from Farms and Sewage Treatment Plants that allow excess nutrients to runoff down the drains and into the Maumee River which ultimately dumps into Lake Erie. There is not much you can do to prevent farmers from using synthetic fertilizers and raw sewage on their fields (other than lobbying your representatives) but you can make some changes right in your own back yard. Click Here For More Info on How Synthetic Fertilizers Cause other problems

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Lake Erie, Environmental Issues, Algae

How to Fight Mosquitoes Without DEET or Chemicals

July 07, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Wouldnt it be nice if you could enjoy summer without being eaten alive by mosquitoes? Good News - You Can! Read on for some tips to help avoid the itch that comes with Mosquito Bites... How To Avoid Mosquito Bites - Naturally There are a variety of tactics for keeping mosquitoes from biting you but many involve potentially harmful chemicals like DEET or Pyrethroids. Here are some natural methods to fight off mosquitoes: Step 1: Use Mosquito Repelling Soap Studies in the Journal of American Mosquito Control Association show that using Neem Oil and Coconut Oil mixed together will repel mosquitoes for up to 8 hours. Good Nature offers a Neem Oil soap that in addition to Neem contains B Vitamins, Lemon Essential Oil, and Tea Tree Oil. All of which have health benefits as well as mosquito repelling properties. Why not use a healthy soap that also repels mosquitoes? Note that this soap makes no claims of mosquito repelling, but Ive found it to be helpful. Step 2: Consider a Natural

Posted in Mosquitos, Tips

How to Kill Thistles Organically - Without Chemicals

July 07, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Youre heard the saying about a weed being any plant growing where it isnt wanted? I can tolerate a variety of weeds in a lawn, but thistles are not one of them. Thistles are frustrating if youre trying to have a kid friendly lawn - what kid wants to walk barefoot on a prickly thistle? Not mine. So, what to do. I dont want prickly weeds for my kids to step on but also dont want to use potentially dangerous chemicals on the lawn. Here is one approach Ive been using over the last year with good success. Its a little unorthodox, but if youre stuck between a thistle and a chemical, it might just be worth a try for you. Step 1: Purchase a Syringe Yes, its a little strange to use a syringe for organic weed control, but stay with me here. There are a variety of places online that sell syringes...heres a 10 ml syringe that will work well available from a website I used. Step 2: Purchase Adios Organic Weed Killer Adios Organic Weed Killer is a newer organic weed killer that works better

Posted in Weeds, Organic Weed Control, Summer Lawn Tips, Thistle

How to Care for Roses Organically

July 02, 2014 by Alec McLennan

f you want to enjoy beautiful roses without using any chemicals to maintain them, you can! Roses are among the most beautiful shrubs in our landscape and can require a great degree of care. Heres a quick guide for caring for your rose bushes without any chemicals. Step 1: Select a Resistant Rose Variety Rose bushes vary greatly in their susceptibility to a number of pests including diseases (black spot, powdery mildew, cedar apple rust) and insects (japanese beetles love roses). If youre just getting ready to plant roses, you might consider newer varieties that are easy to care for. One brand that has minimal issues is a family called KNOCK OUT Roses. They look great and are relatively easy to care for. Heres a picture of a typical KNOCK OUT Rose. If youre a rose purist, you may be more interested in heirloom varieties which can perhaps be more interesting but also more prone to insect and disease issues. We can help you grow either, but the knockouts are a lower maintenance solution. Step

Posted in Organic Rose Care

Multi Colored Patchy Lawn

May 20, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Is your lawn a variety of colors right now? Chances are its because your lawn is made up of a patchwork of grasses. It is important to know as much as you can about the different types of grasses in your lawn and how they behave so that you know what to expect from them. If the patchy lawn bothers you, you can choose the correct solution. Ive seen a lot of people assume that their dormant Rough Bluegrass is an insect problem. They go out an needlessly apply a potentially dangerous insecticide for no reason that doesnt solve their problem. Knowing the types of grass in your lawn really helps you formulate a plan for your lawn. Here are some grass types that you might be seeing right now in Ohio and throughout the midwest. Rough Bluegrass Rough Bluegrass is a weedy grass type that thrives in wet, shady lawn areas. It has stolons which is a fancy name for an above ground root that allows it to climb over other grasses. Thats why youll see it start in a small patch and get gradually bigger.

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, TurfType Tall Fescue, Lawn Tips

How to Kill Dandelions Without Chemicals

May 13, 2014 by Alec McLennan

They pop up every year at this time and are a sure sign that spring is here. With an all natural approach (like Good Natures) you can expect to have a few dandelions, but you should have far less than you would if you werent treating the lawn at all. Read on for some tips to minimize dandelions without using traditional chemicals. Tip #1: Use Corn Gluten Meal Use an organic fertilizer that feeds the soil and may help minimize new weed germination, like Corn Gluten Meal. Corn Gluten Meal is an excellent slow release natural fertilizer that that contains about 9% Nitrogen as a protein. In addition, Corn Gluten Meal has been shown to suppress new seed germination to some degree. That means that it will help minimize new seeds from turning into plants. Your soil has thousands of weed seeds just waiting for an opportunity to sprout and Corn Gluten Meal can help reduce their chances of sprouting. Note: If you have a lot of dandelions one year, and then you apply Corn Gluten Meal the next spring,

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Corn Gluten Meal, Organic Weed Control, Dandelion

To Roll or Not to Roll?

April 14, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Every spring we get questions about rolling lawns, so is it a good idea? The short answer is no - if you want a healthy lawn, rolling it is not a good idea. Why You Should NOT Roll Your Lawn A healthy soil is made up of about 50% open space that gets filled with air or water depending on the moisture level in your soil. Grass roots actually grow in this empty space between soil particles - not in the dirt. If you dont have enough pore (empty) space in between your soil particles, you wont have healthy roots. If you dont have healthy roots, you can guess what your lawn will look like. Heres a graphical example of a healthy soil: How to Smooth Your Lawn Without Rolling It If your lawn is uneven and just bumpy, heres another idea to try. Step 1:Scalp the Lawn Wait until late summer when the weather is hot and dry and give your lawn a nice scalping. This is about the worst thing you can do for your existing grasses, but thats ok - well fix that in a later step. Step 2: Core

Posted in Aerify Plus, Winter Lawn Care, Organic Lawn Care, Spring Lawn Tips, Organic Fertilizer, How To, Organic Lawn, Lawn Rolling

Early Spring Lawn Care Tips

March 28, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Tip 1: Give Your Lawn a Fluff Over the winter lawns will often develop something called snow mold which is just matted down dead looking patches of grass. Snow mold can kill the leaves but 99 times out of 100 it does not kill the plant itself. So, if you use a light leaf rake to fluff it up once it dries out to improve air circulation, the plants should turn green again as they start to grow. If you want to throw a little grass seed down to jumpstart the process after raking, that isnt a bad idea. Tip 2: Buffer Salt to Prevent Crabgrass All the snow over the winter means that there was a lot of salt put down on the roads. Grass doesnt grow well in salty soils, but weeds and especially crabgrass love it. Our Aerify Plus contains humates and soil conditioners which both help salt leach through the soil and buffer the negative effects of salt on your grass and plants. One Hose End Sprayer will cover about 8,000 square feet. Pay special attention to areas that are near the street (tree

Posted in Aeirfy Plus, Organic Lawn Care, Spring Lawn Tips, Choosing An Organic Lawn Care Company, Lawn Tips, Organic Fertilizer, How To, Crab Grass, Organic Weed Control

Beekeepers Sue EPA for Bee-Killing Pesticides

March 28, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Six full yearssince SafeLawns first tried to warn the worldabout the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, beekeepers around the world remain frustrated with government inaction regarding a class of pesticides known as synthetic nicotines. - SafeLawns.org. Read more here.

Posted in Pesticide Dangers, Pesticides

Brrrrr... 3 Ways to Protect Your Plants This Winter!

January 31, 2014 by Alec McLennan

Winter Plant Care Tips: Tip 1: Use Salt in Moderation De-icing salts are useful for keeping walkways clear of slippery ice, but are toxic to most plants. Use caution when applying salt to prevent it from getting onto lawns and planting beds. If de-icing salts have gotten into beds or on lawns, flushing these areas well with water in the spring may help to prevent damage to plants by diluting the salt and preventing salt build up in the soil. We recommend Magic Salt because it contains natural materials that make it more plant friendly but it should still be used in moderation. Click Here to Purchase Magic Salt with Free Home Delivery (to our service areas in Cleveland, Akron Columbus). Tip 2: Water in the Winter? Evergreen plants can lose moisture during the winter through their leaves, especially during cold days when it is sunny or windy. However, this water can not be replaced when the soil is frozen. This can result in tissue desiccation, where the foliage turns brown and may

Posted in Lawn Tips, Magic Salt

Why NOT to Rake Your Leaves This Year

October 19, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Excited to get out and rake your leaves this weekend? If not, heres some good news: You Can Prevent Weeds Naturally by NOT Raking Your Leaves! Dont Rake...Mow Your Leaves You know you should get the fallen leaves off your lawn so they dont smother and kill your grass. Heres a time saving tip. This year, get out the mower and mulch them in. Did you know that mulching leaves into a lawn reduces dandelions by 60% according to a study at Michigan State? Learn More and Watch our Mulching Your Leaves How To Video. Youll find some tips and tricks for mulching your leaves correctly. Here are some steps: 1) Rake or Blow Leaves from your beds out into your lawn. 2) Run over the leaves a few times with the mower to chop them into small pieces. 3) Lightly rake the chopped leaves into a pile (much smaller than if you hadnt mowed). 4) Mow that pile a few more times and rake the remaining leaves into the lawn. The important thing to remember is that you dont want your leaves to smother

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Lawn Tips, Organic Fertilizer, Weeds, Tips, Organic Weed Control

Grub Damage in a Lawn

September 21, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Does your lawn look like this? Its kind of a bummer when you wake up one day and your lawn is turning brown. To add insult to injury the local skunks and racoons take up residence in your lawn. Whats going on here? Its classic White Grub Damage. Youll notice White Grub damage in Late September and October and its particularly bad during years when we get a lot of rainfall in July and/or August (or if you water your lawn). Summer rains attract grubs to your lawn and then keep their eggs hydrated (alive) long enough for them to turn into baby grubs. Baby grubs are really hungry and can quickly devestate a lawn (like the lawn pictured above). How to Prevent Grub Damage Without Chemicals So you dont want your lawn destroyed by grubs, but you dont want to use a chemical to kill them? There are a lot of good reasons to avoid using the standard grub control chemicals which are linked to many bird deaths and honeybee colony collapse disorder. In addition, the grub chemicals are typically

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, TurfType Tall Fescue, Tips, Grubs, Organic Grub Control

Control Nutsedge Organically

August 20, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Do you have a shiny green grass that grows faster than the rest of your lawn and sticks out like a sore thumb? Does it look like the image below? If so, its actually not a grass, its a sedge. Nutsedge Heres a Nutsedge closeup. Notice the shape of the leaf and the triangular stem. Those are the identifying characteristics of Nutsedge. What is a Sedge Doing in Your Lawn? Sedges are plants that are typically best adapted to growing in poorly drained and tight swamp soils. I usually see nutsedge at its worst when the soil is poorly drained and/or compacted. How to Control Nutsedge in Your Lawn There is no great organic control for killing nutsedge in your lawn - other than pulling them very carefully when theyre just starting to sprout in the spring. Do this when the soil is moist and you can work to get the entire root including the little nutlet - youll know it when you see it. If you dont get the entire root parts, the nutsedge will continue to return. But, if you can pull a majority

Posted in Liquid Aeration, Aeirfy Plus, Organic Lawn Care, Lawn Tips, Weeds, Crabgrass, Tips, Organic Weed Control, Organic Lawn, Nutsedge

How to Control Grubs Without Chemicals

August 14, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Have you been looking for a natural way to kill grubs in your lawn? An organic grub killer? Are you concerned that your lawn might be at risk for Grub Damage? The good news is that you can control grubs without using chemicals! Read on for some tips. Tip 1: Water Properly The first step in Natural Grub Prevention is to water your lawn properly. How does watering affect grubs? First lets take a look at what a grub is and its lifecycle. The image above shows how a Japanese Beetle comes out of the ground in late June, feeds on plants through the summer, and then lays eggs that turn into grubs in the fall. Have you ever watched Japanese Beetles closely in the summer? Youll often seem them stacked on top of each other, hard at work making some eggs. In order for the Japanese Beetle Eggs to turn into grubs, they need moisture. So, if you water your lawn every day during the summer, youre giving the grub eggs just what they need to survive! So if you dont water your lawn, it will probably

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Pesticides, TurfType Tall Fescue, Tips, Natural Pest Solutions, Grubs, Organic Grub Control

Why My Grass is Greener

July 30, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Its the middle of July, Ive watered my lawn once this season and havent used any chemical fertilizers or pesticides and have the nicest lawn on the block. Whats the secret you ask? There isnt one secret, its a combination of doing a lot of little things correctly. To steal someones line, Im not showing you these pictures to impress you, but to impress upon you how easy it can be to have a nice looking lawn without using chemcials. Im not sure that having a nice lawn is that impressive anyway, but it shouldnt be difficult to achieve if thats what youd like to do. First, here are a few pictures to illustrate my point... Heres one of my neighbors lawns that is mowed way to short and has allowed crabgrass and other weeds to get established. Heres the divider between my neighbors lawn and my lawn - the left side is the neighbors lawn. You can see in the picture below how my lawn looks nice and healthy and green compared to the neighbors and others on the street. How do you have a

Posted in Liquid Aeration, Aerify Plus, Organic Lawn Care, Grass Seed, TurfType Tall Fescue, Organic Fertilizer, Weeds, Tips, Organic Weed Control, Summer Lawn Tips

How to Kill Clover Without Chemicals

June 01, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Does your lawn look like the lawn pictured below? Are you seeing a lot of white flowers in your lawn and dont like the look of them? Maybe youre concerned about the clover attracting bees and making it more likely for your kids to get stung? If this is your lawn and youd like to get some more grass and less clover, keep reading, well get there... Why You Might Want to Keep Your Clover But, before we talk about How to Eliminate Clover without using chemicals, lets spend a second looking at the benefits of clover and perhaps convince you that youd like to keep the clover after all. Reason 1: Clover Fertilizes Your Lawn Clover has a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that attach themselves to its roots. These bacteria can absorb nitrogen (the main nutrient that gives grass its green color) from the atmosphere, meaning that it doesnt need to be fertilized. Even better, if you have a good mix of clover (or microclover) you shouldnt need to fertilize your lawn much. Contrary to poplular

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Microclover, How To, Weeds, Tips, Natural Pest Solutions, Organic Weed Control

How to Eliminate Mosquitoes Without Chemicals

May 13, 2013 by Alec McLennan

So youd like to get out and enjoy the yard without being eaten alive by pesky mosquitoes? How about a barbeque where you arent the main course? Are your kids complaining about itchy mosquito bites? Are you worried about spraying a chemical to control mosquitoes? The good news is that there are some great, safe and organic ways to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your landscape and give your kids every reason to be outside (why give them another reason to be inside playing video games). Step 1: Dont Let Mosquitoes Hatch Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Grounds There are a variety of strategies for controlling mosquitoes. The first involves preventing them from ever becoming adults. You can do this by minimizing standing water on your property - Id get rid of that birdbath. Also, if you have areas of your lawn or yard that tend to hold water you might consider adding drainage and/or improving the soil with something like our aerify plus which will open up the soil and allow water to drain

Posted in Mosquitoes, Natural Pest Solutions

Quackgrass... Don\\\'t Call me Crabgrass

April 25, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Quackgrass is a weedy grass that probably gets its feelings hurt every time someone refers to it as crabgrass. Crabgrass gets all the glory. Its understandable to confuse quackgrass for crabgrass because they have some similar characteristics, a coarse leaf blade and lime green color that causes it to look different from the rest of the lawn. Heres a picture of Quackgrass taken this spring. If you see something that looks like crabgrass in the early spring in the midwest, you can be almost 100% sure that it isnt true crabgrass. Old Fashioned Tall Fescue is another grass that commonly is confused with crabgrass. Who cares whether its crabgrass, Tall Fescue or quackgrass you ask? Its still ugly and you still dont want it right? Well, it matters because if you dont know what type of grass youre dealing with, its difficult to know how to eliminate it. For example, pretend you see quackgrass in your lawn and assume its crabgrass, you might decide to apply a natural pre-emergent crabgrass

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Corn Gluten Meal, Weeds, Crabgrass

Mayfield Village Goes Organic!

April 22, 2013 by Alec McLennan

Mayfield Village has made a big commitment to go organic with their turf care and keep their residents from being exposed to lawn pesticide applications. Of particular note is the fact that theyre treating their 6 athletic fields organically which will keep hundreds of children from being exposed to lawn pesticides. Way to go Mayfield Village! See the story on Patch.com Here

Posted in Oranic Lawn Care, In The News, Choosing An Organic Lawn Care Company

Can I Seed if I Applied Corn Gluten Meal?

April 11, 2013 by Alec McLennan

We get this question a lot. You want to apply corn gluten meal to help feed your lawn and discourage weeds like crabgrass from germinating but you have some bare spots that youd like to seed. What to do? In my experience, Corn Gluten Meal seems to allow perennial grasses to sprout more easily than annual weeds. I have no idea why thats the case. But, it means that it is generally ok to seed spots in your lawn even if you have put down corn gluten meal. For best seeding results, Id recommend applying the corn gluten meal over your entire lawn and then going around to the bare spots in your lawn and seeding them with a spot seeding mix like our Pro Mix Lawn Patch Repair Seed. It contains a blend that will tolerate sun or shade pretty well and get established quickly. In addition, it has recycled newspaper fibers that help hold water near the seed AND a special polymer gel that keeps everything from washing away. Its a great choice for fixing bare patches in your lawn. Note: If youve renovated

Posted in Organic Lawn Care, Grass Seed, Lawn Tips, Organic Fertilizer, How To, Corn Gluten Meal
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