Did you know that Spring is the very best time to get your lawn in shape? It is!
And did you know that it's very important to make sure that your lawn and your garden are free from chemicals, insecticides, herbicides and pesticides to keep you dog and you the healthiest possible. Why? Because there are dangers luring in those nasty chemicals and they can be very unhealthy for dogs, other pets, children and adults.
Here is some information about why it's important to use healthy and safe products for your lawn to keep it looking and feeling it's best:
You've seen them...the advertisements from the big lawn companies with pets and children running around having a great time in the lawn. But did you know that all those commercial lawn care chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides that millions of people put on their lawn every year are very unsafe; the fact is, these chemicals have been linked to grave illnesses in dogs. These chemicals kill bugs and weeds and if they do that, what are they doing to children and pets?
A very respected report and DVD "The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals," funded by Newman’s Own Foundation, has tons of information for you to learn about the unhealthy effects of lawn chemicals on your pets.
BeyondPesticides.org, another respected site, has a lot of facts and figures related to the use and affects of pesticides, herbicides, unnatural fertilizers and insecticides on humans, pets and children. Their studies have shown "that dogs exposed to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma, and may also increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times. " (xvii)
You can however, have an amazingly beautiful and safe lawn for you and your dog. We know! And an organic lawn can even be easier and less work than you may think. Here are our top tips to keep a healthy, organic lawn:
- Adjust the your soil pH through amendments (like acidifiers, lime, or kelp, that are organic, natural and safe for your dog). Test your soil pH, see what's missing and then see our resources for great products to help.
- Utilize an organic fertilizer on your lawn to feed it well with the nutrients it needs.
- Overseed and mow high! This works very well to choke out unwanted weeds.
We have a very favorite book to help you achieve an amazing lawn and garden that's very safe for your dog and you! It's written by our friend Tom Barthel. Tom is a Master Gardner and includes a wealth of information about how you can keep your lawn and yard safe. He was even kind enough to include us in his new book, "Dogscaping, Creating the Perfect Backyard & Garden for You and Your Dog." You can get it in an ebook too!
So, how do you get started this Spring? Here are our top tips for getting your lawn in tip top, safe shape to enjoy throughout the year:
- Get out there and clean up all the poo after the spring thaw.
- Rake up any leaves and debris, this will help cut back on fleas and ticks!
- Mow if you need to.
- Then wait for a good rain, and pull up those weeds.
- Over seed with a good non-coated grass seed (like K9 Yard Patch) appropriate for your area. Coated seed contains unwanted hormones and chemicals, so check the label, K?
- Wait a few days and then spread a good organic fertilizer, like spray Fish Emulsion, Worm Poo (these fertilizers won't hamper the growth of new grass seed). We like sprays because they are not as attractive to dogs once they have been on the lawn for a few hours. You can also look into a good organic fertilizer that's pellet based, like Lawn Restore, or Espoma Brand organic foods. We don't use these because Gracie likes to sniff them so much, she gets a runny nose. Even if they are perfectly safe for her, we don't want her to have a runny nose :)
- Also put down on your lawn our favorite weed preventer, a product called 'corn gluten' that is safe around pets. If you use it, however, you need to put it down before the forsythia blooms (that's now in the South, and usually in early April in the North. We recommend that you water in the pellets completely before letting your pet in that area, just to keep them from eating or sniffing them up. Dogs are very attracted to eating corn gluten and although not poisonous, in large quantities can upset tummies.
- Continue to pull unwanted weeds after each good rain (they are much easier to pull, and you can be sure to get the entire root if the soil is moist.)
- If your lawn is in very poor shape, continue to reseed until the hot parts of summer and fertilize with a safe organic fertilizer every 6-8 weeks.
- To keep crawling insects at bay in and outside your home, like ants, fleas, rolly poly bugs, spiders and more, sprinkle food grade Diatomaceous Earth in the area (inside or out). We use it a lot. Just be sure to have your pets out of the area and wear a mask when spreading. The product itself isn't dangerous, but you don't want to breath in the dust it manufacturers when you spread it. Once settled, it's a very safe form of pest control for humans and pets.
- If you have insects (like aphids) that like to eat your plants try some safe eco-friendly dish washing soap, mixed with water and spray on the bugs and plants.
Here are additional resources: