HOW WE BUILD A LIVING SOIL

Organic Fertilizers Are Truly Amazing!

Organo-Lawn’s approach to natural lawn care is much different than chemical lawn care companies. Organo-Lawn’s approach is to build a living soil and the living soil will feed the grass and trees.


What exactly does feeding the soil represent?

We believe that the key to a healthy, lush and disease free lawn is only accomplished by creating a living soil using organic products, proper lawn proper lawn watering and a thorough lawn aeration. Compared to a chemical lawn care companies approach that only feeds the lawn using fast release nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium; an Organo-Lawn lawn will be healthier, have no diseases and look better over a three year time frame. Organo-Lawn's lawn care programs create a living soil and this is the reason why lawns treated by Organo-Lawn look so healthy and stay disease free without the use of dangerous chemicals?


How does Organo-Lawn's approach differ from chemical lawn care companies?

The chemical lawn care companies’ philosophy is to give the lawn frequent feedings of nitrogen based fertilizers. Initially the lawn treated using chemicals will look healthy and look green. The problem becomes apparent over time when the soil is eventually killed by the chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. The grass will become completely dependent on the frequent applications of lawn fertilizer, lawn chemicals and dangerous pesticides. Typically after using a chemical lawn care program for a year or longer the lawn will begin to develop fungus problems like necrotic ring spot and the lawns will begin to look terrible. The only way to cure a chemical dependent lawn is to stop the chemical applications and rebuild the soil. It typically will take 1-2 years to rebuild the microbial activity in the soil, depending on how severe the chemicals have damaged the soil.

Organic Fertilizers Boulder


What is a living soil?

Living soils have the presence of millions if not billions of beneficial microbes and are teeming with beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and earth worms. The best example of a living soil is a compost bin. Inside the compost bin are billions of different beneficial bacteria, microbes, and nematodes that are breaking down organic matter and releasing humic matter creating rich organic soil; a.k.a. living soil.


How to Stimulate Microbes


Deep Digging Roots (Deep and Infrequent Watering)

+ Heat

+ Moist (not too wet and not too dry)

+ Air (Aeration)

+ Food (Organic Matter, Organic Fertilizers and/or Humate)


How does one achieve a living soil?

Simply, create an environment where microbes, beneficial bacteria, and beneficial funguses are happy. Beneficial microbes are just like people; they need air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. Sounds easy and it is -- with the right combination of organic lawn care products, proper lawn watering, core aeration and time the microbes will reproduce and thrive.

  • First step is to have a very thorough lawn aeration. This is important because it alleviates soil compaction which allows air into the soil.
  • Second step is to provide food for the microbes via organic matter. Organo-Lawn’s organic lawn fertilizers and humate will provide food for the soil microbes.
    • It has been proven that chemical lawn fertilizers actually kill microbes because of the high salt content.
    • Organo-Lawn’s first lawn care application of the year called Synergy is a fantastic organic weed control and is loaded with plant based organic matter for the microbes to feed on.
    • Humate Soil Conditioner is another lawn care product that is absolutely amazing for stimulating beneficial microbial activity. Basically Humate is 1,000,000 year old organic compost that is mined from a special location in New Mexico. One application of Humate is the equivalent of doing a ½ inch top dressing of organic compost, Humate is one fifth the cost compared to compost top dressing a lawn, and there is no wheel barrow or shoveling of compost required.
    1. Third step is proper lawn watering. Deep and infrequent lawn watering is a must for stimulating microbial activity in soils.
      • Too much water will kill microbes because water replaces air in the soil and too much water will drown the microbes.
      • It is important to allow the soil to dry out between lawn watering. Microbes like to be moist but not wet.
      • Not sure how to water properly…follow these instructions. It is called 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 lawn watering.
      1. Fourth step is give the lawn and soil time. Microbes need warm weather and time to reproduce and populate. A severely damaged lawn with dead soil may take 1-2 years to rebuild the beneficial microbial activity in the soil.

      Why deep digging grass roots are extremely important:

      Deep digging grass roots only occur if a lawn is watered deeply and infrequently. It is important to understand that the roots of trees and grasses not only uptake nutrients, but they also give off sugars. These sugars attract the first form of bacteria. After the first group of bacteria arrive the next type of bacteria will arrive to eat the first type of bacteria. Then the next type of bacteria arrives to eat bacteria when the second type arrives. Then beneficial fungi arrive to feed on the bacteria. Then protozoa arrive to feed on the fungi. Then amoeba arrive to feed on the protozoa, then nematodes arrive, and then finally earthworms. If a lawn has a large presence of earthworms then the soil is alive and teeming with microbes.

      The very first thing that needs to happen to create a living soil is to create an environment promoting deep digging roots. The deeper the roots dig the deeper the microbial populations will develop in the soil. The only way to get deep digging roots is to water the lawn deeply and infrequently using the 1, 2 3, 2, 1 lawn watering technique.


      Here is a good video made by our friends at Urban Farm Co in Boulder Colorado that explains why a living soil is so important to a plant.


      What is the cause of a dead soil?

      A soil without microbial activity means the soil is dead and dead soils don’t happen without human interference. The two things that most people unknowingly do to kill the soil in their lawn are to over water the lawn and to fertilize the lawn using chemical fertilizers. Over watering a lawn kills microbial activity because water replaces air in the soil and therefore the microbes cannot breathe and they die. Chemical fertilizers are toxic to microbes and they kill microbial activity. If a lawn's soil is dead (no microbial activity), it typically takes 1-3 months to get beneficial microbe populations started and another three months to two year to get the lawn microbes thriving.

      What are compost teas?

      A hot talking point in lawn care is compost teas and many local lawn care companies are marketing them as the greatest revolution in organic lawn care. Compost teas basically are a liquid application containing millions of beneficial microbes and bacteria. One compost tea application introduces millions of new microbial populations into the soil.

      For 17 years Organo-Lawn has been using a product called MDS Super Tea in every application of One Earth Weed Control. MDS Super Tea is basically just like a compost tea for the lawn except it has about 3 times the beneficial microbial population as a standard compost tea. MDS Super Tea also has a liquid organic fertilizer to feed the microbes after they have been applied. This additional organic fertilizer is important for the health of the lawn because introducing millions of beneficial bacteria is only going to be successful if they can stay alive. If there isn’t any food for the microbes to eat then they will quickly die. It is very important to understand that a compost tea or super tea will only work if there is food, air, and proper watering for the microbes to continue to thrive. Without these three elements the microbes will die very quickly and the compost tea will not work at all.

      Organo-Lawn soil


      Why are beneficial microbes so wonderful?

      Microbes keep everything in the lawn in balance. In the world of microbes it is a giant food chain of eat or get eaten. Bacteria eat other bacteria, fungi eat bacteria, amoeba eat fungi, nematodes eat amoeba, and earthworms eat everything. Good microbes eat and kill bad microbes and if the soil is teeming with microbes it is too competitive of an environment for one species of fungi or bacteria to get out of control. This check and balance system is what we call diversity. This microbial food chain also replenishes the lawn's soil by breaking down humic matter into nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, and potassium.

      Some Benefits of a healthy or living soil:

      • Microbes replenish the soil and keep diseases, fungi, and pathogens suppressed.
      • A living soil creates a sustainable living environment for earthworms.
      • Microbes quickly break down thatch and grass clippings.
      • A living soils has less soil compaction reducing a lawn's watering needs.

      The list goes on and on. When picturing a perfect soil, think of a lush dark loamy soil that breaks apart easily in my hand. It should smell fresh and clean. This type of soil is only possible only if it is teeming with beneficial microbial activity.

      Organo-Lawn’s full season programs are designed to build living soils and when you have healthy soils you will have a healthy lawn. This is why customers who have been on an Organo-Lawn lawn care program, especially for multiple years, have beautiful lawns and only have problems with lawn diseases if their watering schedule is not how we recommend via the 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 watering technique.


      5 Common Lawn Care Mistakes to Avoid Because They Kill Beneficial Microbes and Bacteria