Most aspects of transitioning to an organic garden take time and the perseverance to learn about new things. There’s a whole new philosophy involved, as well as new products and skills to learn about and master. Setting out to take care of your lawn organically is no exception. Here’s the way you could accomplish that in just 5 simple steps.

Step 1:Take great care of the lawn you have. This is important because a healthy lawn can shade out all kinds of weed seeds and prevent a lot of health problems that can occur in your lawn. If you ever skip or ignore this step, you’ll end up with bare patches where weed seeds can sprout, and you’ll be tempted to go back to using chemical herbicides.

Step 2: Mow your lawn on the highest setting. This can be a crucial step that will need your full attention. Do it right this way: Whatever the highest setting is on your mower, be sure and set all four wheels there. I can’t stress enough how critical it is to mow high, because it helps keep lawn roots cool, preserve the moisture you give your lawn, and it helps earthworms and beneficial soil micro-organisms to thrive. You can mow as high as 3″ tall. Aim to cut no more than 1/4 to 1/5 of the grass blades’ total height off each time you mow. Anymore and you are stressing the lawn by cutting into stems and not the leaf. You’ll end up with straw-like grass.

Step 3: Leave the clippings on your lawn. What we are going to do here is to mow more often, and on a higher setting, and then leave the clippings on the lawn. If you’re mowing only 1/4 to 1/5 of the total height off the grass blades each time you mow, then leaving the clippings is no problem, because tiny clippings break down easily and are invisible on the lawn. Leaving the clippings helps to fertilize the lawn naturally and slowly through natural means. This reduces your dependency on fertilizers and decreases pest problems because being fed slowly reduces the kind of over-fast, sickly grass growth that lawn pests love to eat.

Step 4: Repair any dog-damaged spots quickly. To explain and amplify on that a little, if you leave bare patches where dogs have urinated on your lawn, weeds quickly take hold in those bare spots. Neutralize the acid by using a sprinkle of gypsum, then add grass seed and compost to your bare spots and water regularly.

Step 5: Use a lot of compost on your lawn. Additionally, top dress your lawn in spring and fall with a minimum of 1/2 inch layer of compost applied to your entire lawn. This helps the lawn stay green and well-fed without causing chemical fertilizer runoff or pest problems. It also enhances the tilt of the soil.

If you’ll take these steps, you’ll have a beautiful organic lawn. You can pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for having achieved it!

If you didn’t follow the tips set forth above, well… good luck anyway. You’ll likely need it.