Organic Lawn Care

Organic Lawn Care is an essential part of keeping a healthy lawn, that is beautiful, safe for the environment, and also safe for your children and pets who use it.  Build a healthy lawn from the roots up.

Core Aeration

Core aeration cuts 2 ½ inch deep plugs from your lawn and deposits them on your lawn. The holes allow water, nutrients, and air down to the roots. After core aerating your lawn it is the best time to over-seed and top dress. The seed and compost can get right down into the soil; the seed will gain a foothold in the soil. The seed combined with the nutrients from the compost will have an accelerated germination cycle.A mechanical aerator has fingerlike knives on cylinders that continually cut plugs out of the lawn and deposit them on the lawn’s surface. When an aerator has finished its work on the lawn, it may look like your lawn was riddled with bullet holes. The plugs on top will quickly break down after a few rains and passes with a lawn mower. The soil plugs are advantageous to your lawn as they open spaces for roots to develop. Lawns get compacted over time due to traffic, and root development becomes hindered. This reduces the grass’s ability to sustain its growth. As a result, grass growth becomes sparse. After aeration, the grass root can spread and penetrate deeper; it is a rejuvenation of the root system. If the root can absorb more water and nutrients, it will obviously grow better and greener. Listed below are some of the critical advantages from core aeration.Compaction of the soil is alleviatedThe soil compaction, especially in high traffic areas, is greatly diminished. This allows the grass to spread and grow deeper. The grass naturally out-competes weeds and covers in sparse areas.Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere

As a result of the plugs being removed, the air can exchange with the soil. This promotes growth of grass, just like any plant, it needs air to grow.

Enhanced water uptake

As the lawn is less compact, the grass root can take more water from the soil.

Improved nutrient uptake and use

As the soil is more porous, the grass root wants to develop deeply and spread. The root can access the nutrients easier. After core aeration, it is the perfect time to over-seed and top dress. These applications in combination will allow the grass to fill in and provide nutrients. The new seed will germinate quickly and entrench itself into the lawn.

Stronger roots

As the roots will spread and grow deeper, the grass becomes more robust and hardier. Over successive aerations, the lawn will be more resilient to drought, disease, and will
out-compete the weeds.
Increased Property Value and curb appeal

You will enjoy a beautiful lawn, and it will have more cushion and bounce. It is possible to have a healthy lawn without the need for chemicals and fertilizer if you begin the transition today. Real estate experts tell us that a nice lawn can significantly increase the value of your home, by as much as 3%-5%. It is the green carpet that greets everyone before your door. Experience the V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ green carpet treatment today.

 

Overseeding

It  is the next step in the V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ approach. We assume, incorrectly, that fertilizer is all that is needed to keep a turf thick and free of weeds. Grass gets tired and naturally dies off. It needs to be revitalized every year to ensure a vibrant lawn.
Over-seeding for cool-season grass is more beneficial in the fall, although it can be done in the spring. It’s simply spreading grass seed through the lawn. If done in conjunction with the V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ program of aeration and top dressing, the seeds will germinate quickly and make the lawn denser. For a lawn to prosper and grow, the grass must out compete the weeds. A dense lawn is like a blanket that will not allow the weed seeds to penetrate and take hold. Over seeding should be done every year. The seed that we use is from a sod manufacturer. This grass seed is fresh and has not been bagged and become stagnant on a department floor. The blend of seed that we use for over seeding is perennial ryegrass, fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. Each grass has a distinctive quality that makes it a great blend for over-seeding throughout the lawn. These grasses get along remarkably well, and they are very similar in appearance. Planting just one grass species or monoculture is not recommended. It makes the lawn more susceptible to disease and infestation. The rye grass is quick growing and germinates quickly. It is a great grass for erosion control since it grows in those areas that can be difficult to grow grass. The fescue grows deep roots. It is drought tolerant, shade tolerant, and has an evergreen nature. This grass variety prevents your lawn from looking brown in the summer. The Kentucky bluegrass is a small seed, and it is the grass that makes a lawn dense and carpet like. It takes upwards of 2 ½ weeks to germinate. When sod is laid, it is typically just Kentucky bluegrass. It grows thick and it binds together incredibly well. It is also a natural weed barrier. The grass protects itself by creating a natural barrier. Together, this blend works in harmony with your existing lawn to provide new growth and sustain what you already have.

Organic Top Dressing

When contractors construct homes, subdivisions, and/or any building, they remove all of the humus layer and most of the topsoil because it is unsafe to build on. Humus and top soil tend to hold a lot of water. They are spongy/buoyant and they are quite dynamic (move around a lot because of all the biology living within them). Therefore, humus and topsoil are not safe to build on, but they are great for lawns.

The use of lawn pesticides and synthetic fertilizers destroyed the natural biology of the soil; they literally burnt it up. They also pave the way for their continued use. In their absence, the lawn cannot out-grow the weeds because the grass was dependent on its chemicals (addicted).

Top dressing using compost offers several specific advantages over chemical fertilization and chemical weed control agents. Our V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ top dressing application involves the direct application of a layer of compost to the turf grass. The thickness of this layer varies according to your needs, but generally, we recommend a thickness of around 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.

We have outlined six specific benefits of top dressing with compost:

Turf Nutrition
Compost is the only slow release soil amendment containing all of the essential elements to maintain balanced levels of Macro elements (nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and sulfur) and Micro elements (iron, boron, chlorine, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum). The application of only one layer of compost fulfills between 50 and 100 percent of the annual nutritional requirements of your turf.

Soil Structure
Most of the growth in grass happens in the top layer of the soil (humus/litter later). Without plenty of organic matter in this layer, you have limited the growth of your lawn right from the start. V.I.P. Eco-Grow top dressing addresses this by adding nature’s best amendment to your lawn. It simply fortifies the soil in which 99% of the growth of grass happens. It is widely accepted that good soils contain a minimum of three to five percent organic matter.

Microbial Activity
The application of quality compost stimulates the microbial activity in the soil. Soil microbes are critically important for the health of the grass, because without them, natural nutrient cycling and mineralization cannot occur.

Thatch Decomposition
The accumulation of thatch (dead undecomposed grass plants) indicates a lack of active micro-organisms in the soil. The micro-organisms present in compost will transform this dead material into plant nutrients without mechanical removal. The lawn recycles itself and provides ongoing nutrition each time it’s cut and mulched.

Buffer the pH
All plants produce byproducts (protiens, sugars or carbohydrates) which are released through their root systems. The micro-organisms that a lawn needs love sugar.  The key to sustain these beneficial micro-organisms is to keep the organic matter at 5%. This ensures these beneficial organisms are the most abundant throughout the lawn. These beneficial micro-organisms help fight plant disease and make the lawn more biologically robust.

Seed Germination
Top dressing in conjunction with V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ over-seeding is the best way to assure rapid and complete germination of grass seed. The seed to soil contact will be greatly increased which improves germination.

Less Water Usage
The need for watering will decrease because of the water retention of the newly applied compost. The turf becomes spongy and buoyant; it retains water rather than draining through the soil quickly. This reduces your watering needs and promotes the lush green appearance of your lawn all season long. Top dressing coupled with core aeration (this procedure removes 2 ½ inch plugs from the lawn which allows the root to develop deeply) work in synergy.

V.I.P. Eco-Grow approach™  topdressing’s is the only natural, slow release nourishment that is delivered in a constant manner throughout the year for the sustained growth of a beautiful lawn. The lawn is replenished with nutrients, you have now begun the transition to 100% organic lawn care

In combination with top dressing, try over-seeding and core aeration as part of V.I.P. Eco-Grow approach™ .

 

Lawn Cutting

To mow properly is one of the primary components in promoting a thriving lawn. Cutting grass is an unnatural act that requires some thoughtful consideration. Grass is remarkable in that it can rejuvenate itself.  Grass cut with a blunt cutting edge is prone to insect infestation and fungal diseases. V.I.P. Home & Yard guarantees that every 8-14 Hrs of grass cut, it will re-sharpen the cutting blade. A sharp blade cuts the grass cleanly whereas a dull blade cuts the grass blade surface with jagged edges (observed microscopically). The jagged grass blade surface is easily penetrable and diseases can set in. Ask to see our checklist of blade sharpening the next time you see us in your neighborhood. V.I.P. Home & Yard will never cut the lawn below 1.5-2.5 inches so that the grass has the opportunity to fend off infestation. If grass is cut below this, it is more susceptible to disease and it cannot recover fast enough, especially in the summer. V.I.P. Home & Yard commits that it will vary its mowing direction each time that we mow, either perpendicular to, diagonally, or parallel to your house. We mow the perimeter of your lawn first and then pick a line.

During prime growing periods (late spring, summer, and early fall) we will mulch the grass clippings. The grass clipping are akin to free fertilizer which will nurture the lawn. We will use a bagger attachment for the first mowing of the year and again when the dandelions or other weeds set seed.

We offer one time cuts as well as full season lawn cutting. With our entire lawn cutting, we trim and blow off any grass from sidewalks or paving. To set off your well manicured lawn, ask about our edging service to make a stunning boundary around your lawn.

 

Lawn Edging

Edging can make your lawn look finely groomed along the borders and prevent “creeping” grasses from growing outside of their boundaries. The vertical cut can be made approximately 1-1 ½ inches deep and will add the perfect border to an organically sustained lawn. We use a state of the art edger which cuts a perfect sidewalk or paving edge boundary. This work can be labor intensive; it can be a back breaking chore for the home owner. Next time you want a perfect border edge to make your lawn stand out, call V.I.P Home & Yard.

Cracks and Crevices

For control of unsightly weeds, V.I.P. Home & Yard uses a non-selective mixture of acetic acid (vinegar) and citric acid (components of lemon juice also found in soda-pop). This non-selective mixture has no impact on soil, and breaks down immediately upon application. It is an excellent alternative to chemical herbicides that were used in the past for this tedious job.

It is not systemic and so full coverage of the weeds is essential. The weeds must be sprayed to the point of leaf run-off. It should be sprayed early in the weed’s life, the weeds are less established and are easier to treat when they are young.

As the product is non-selective, it is effective in removing broadleaf and grassy weeds. The product works on both annual and perennial weeds, although the product may not remove perennial weeds initially. Additional applications may be needed.

Compost Tea Application

Compost tea is a liquid concentrate that is brewed from great quality compost. It is a suspension of the micro-nutrients (water soluble) and the micro-organisms found in compost. The brewing process promotes the growth of bacteria, fungi, and nematodes that are water soluble and can be applied using a spraying device.

It is a very efficient way to increase the microbe diversity in a lawn, especially if it was a “synthetically” fed lawn. Consider a lawn that was dependent on fertilizers and treated with toxic chemicals to control weeds. It was conditioned to have low microbial diversity in its soil. The compost tea is a fast, effective jolt which inoculates the lawn efficiently and with great speed to allow the soil the diversity. It puts the microbes back in the soil, but in order for them to prosper and proliferate, they need good soil. That is why it’s so important to use this amendment in collaboration with V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ top dressing. The top dressing provides the food to the micro-organisms to grow and divide. These soil enhancing micro-organisims protect the lawn against disease and infestation.

The compost tea is applied using a traditional sprayer device over the entire lawn. A great consideration of applying compost tea is that it is nature’s own amendment that fortifies your soil and the foliage that comes in contact with the compost tea. It is safe to walk on immediately, and it has no impact on your pet’s health or that of the natural wildlife in your area.

The advantages of an application of compost tea for your lawn are as follows:

• 100% safe

• 100% natural

• increased pest resistance

• increased breakdown of toxins in your soil

• increased frost resistance

• increased weed resistance

• increased disease resistance

Healthy soil grows healthy grass.

 

Lawn Rejuvenation

This is a process where the lawn needs extra TLC to get it to a point where the regular V.I.P. Eco-grow™ program can sustain a natural and beautiful lawn. We do not want to promise that every lawn can be enrolled on the V.I.P. Eco-grow™ program, or that it will be emerald green and lush after a complete annual cycle. Simply put, some lawns need a full renovation. There are 2 cases which are described in further detail below.

Badly presented

If your lawn is badly presented although there are signs of grass, it may be able to be saved! The evaluation is on a case by case basis. First your lawn is detached and aerated bi-directionally (horizontal and vertical). This rakes the thatch from your lawn and completely opens up the soil. After a complete detaching and aeration, weeds are removed manually from the lawn (ensuring the weed root system is removed) then the lawn is over-seeded. Finally the lawn is top dressed with compost. Finally, we over-seed the top dressed compost layer on the lawn. We want the grass seed to completely establish and out grow the weeds; this is an added cautionary step in this special circumstance.

 

Completely over-grown with weeds

In some cases, the lawn may be completely over-grown with weeds or in such disrepair that it may need to be completely renovated. This is the case when you can visibly see no grass or just a greenish covering made possible by crabgrass, dandelions, and other weeds. In these cases, the lawn may need to be completely renovated. First, we need to eradicate the weeds, and there are 3 options. The most cost effective and natural process covers the lawn with a rubber material that will kill all of the vegetation over time as sunlight cannot penetrate the rubber. This process is called solarization. It is extremely cost effective, however, it takes time. It is 100% natural. The other procedure is to use a concentrate vinegar/citric acid blend which is completely biodegradable. It is non selective and will kill everything. It may require 2-3 applications to get the desired effect. The quickest method is to use a sod cutter which cuts the sod up and then remove it. Either way, you now have a starting point on which to begin. V.I.P. Home & Yard considers it a blank canvass to grow a beautiful lawn. Once the soil is exposed, this is the perfect time to add organic compost and top soil onto the freshly exposed soil. Following the addition of top soil and compost, it is compacted using a roller and lightly raked. Once this preparatory work is done, the lawn can be laid with new sod. In order to protect your new investment, consider the V.I.P. Eco-Grow™ program to sustain the lawn and grow a beautiful, lush, green lawn.

 

Biological Control of Grubs

For the biological removal of white grubs, citrus root weevil, Japanese beetles, May/June beetles, European/Masked chafer, black vine weevil and sob webworm we use natures secret weapon which are beneficial nematodes. What are nematodes? Nematodes are naturally occurring, earth friendly microscopic worms. The active nematode in the application is Steinernema glaseri; it has been shown in numerous scientific tests that it reduces the insect population equal to or better than the standard insecticide.

When the nematode has located a host (grub), the nematodes penetrate into the insect body cavity, usually via natural body openings or areas of thin cuticle. Once in the body cavity, a symbiotic bacterium is released from the nematode gut, which multiplies rapidly and causes rapid insect death. The nematodes feed upon the bacteria and liquefying host, and mature into adults. The life cycle is completed in a few days, and hundreds of thousands of new infective juveniles emerge in search of fresh hosts. The cycle continues repeatedly and removes grubs from the lawn.

The nematodes are applied from a traditional spray device; they are tolerant of the pressure used in spraying devices. They need to be applied in the early morning when the sun’s UV rays are not at their greatest intensity. As it is a living organism it must be applied when the soil temperature is between 12° C -37° C, this narrow temperature window will to enable the nematode to progress rapidly through its life cycle. The nematode suspension must be stored in a refrigerator as it is a living organism; it cannot be left exposed to high temperatures like storage in a car on a hot day.

Biological nematode application should be applied in mid/late June once the soil temperature is above 12° C -37° C, it can then be applied in August again. This should capture and remove grub infestation in a lawn if strict attention is paid to the prevailing conditions.

If you have a problem with a grub infestation the sure fire way to diagnose this is to lift the grass back, if has withered and you can peel it back from the soil without resistance from any roots it is an indication of grub infestation. If you confirm you have a grub infestation call V.I.P. Home & Yard, we will spray the biological control nematode suspension. It will quickly and effectively stop the grubs from damaging any more of your lawn the natural way.

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