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Help my lawn! attempting organic lawn care in Menlo Park CA

16 years ago

I've been a bad lawn gardener. Haven't fertilized in around 4 years, and now my dwarf fescue is getting thin and has every weed in the book- especially a clover variety. Luckily, it still looks good unless you take a close look at it- so it's rather a shock to realize it's not actually doing so well.

I'm always thrilled to note the presence of worms after a rain, and I don't want to harm whatever soil organisms that are present. The lawn is surrounded by rose bushes (no chemical sprays), and is very small -probably 400- 500 square feet. The soil appears compact and hard under the lawn- it needs help fast. I carefully tend my roses and the soil under them is nice and spongy from years of compost and mulching.

I am reading about the use of various grains for fertilizer/soil improvement, but can't imagine any grainery locally! The cost of living in Menlo Park is sky high. I did a search for farm/grain/feed and got hits for a grocery store that sells $9.00 sandwiches, two local biotech companies, and a farm supply an hour's drive from here....

I am presuming that if I properly feed the lawn, the clover will lose its foothold. With better soil quality, I can successfully overseed later in the season: correct??

So my questions are:

1-Can someone recommend a local source for a low cost organic lawn program (instead of the pricey Ringers etc)? If there are no sources of low cost grain, please suggest which commercial product would best suit my needs.

2-Given that the soil seems more hard than spongy, and that the warm season is starting now, should I do a punch aeration to make a running start to an organic program?

3- The lawn is on a high foot-traffic street, and I want my kids to be able to play on the lawn, so I'm hoping that whatever I use won't be too "fragrant"- or that the "fragrant" phase would last less than one week...

thanks in advance,


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