Eco Friendly Lawn Care Advice

Asked September 2, 2019, 10:17 AM EDT

We have a small lawn that is becoming overwhelmed with a variety of weeds. A good portion of the lawn has completely died. We have avoided using commercial fertilizers out of concern for environmental damage. Can you give me a few tips for the fall and spring on what we can do to minimize the weeds and re-establish a reasonably good looking lawn that is also environmentally friendly? The lawn gets plenty of sun. I've attached a few photos of our problems. Thank you for any advice you can offer.

Montgomery County Maryland lawns and turf

1 Response

Hi -- For a lawn that is mostly in decline like this with a high number of weeds, we recommend doing a complete renovation. Now is the ideal time of year to core aerate your soil, overseed with high-quality turfgrass, and fertilize prior to the November 15 cut-off date (as per the Maryland Fertilizer Law).

Your choice of seed is important. For sunny lawns, turf-type tall fescue is recommended for Maryland lawns. You can find cultivars recommended by the University of Maryland in this publication: https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/Non_hgic_pubs/TT-77%20Re... You typically have to go to a garden center like Newsom Seed, The Turf Center, or Southern States, to find the better quality seed.

I recommend that you start with a soil test to check your pH and nutrient content. The results of your soil test will indicate if lime is needed to adjust pH. (Soil pH affects nutrient availability.) Here is information about how to do a soil test. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing

Please refer to our publication on lawn establishment for a step-by-step guide to renovating a lawn: https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/lawn_pubs/HG10...

Organic lawn care information:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/organic-lawn-care

Montgomery County organic lawn care program:
https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/lawns/

Christa