How to Feed Your Lawn Organically

By Andy McIndoe

Feeding & Lawn Care For Organic Gardeners
Sponsored by Vitax – Green Up Lawn Care
As the grass starts to grow more rapidly in spring it is time to think about feeding and conditioning the lawn for the season ahead. Grass plants grow in a crowded community, competing for water and nutrients.

On top of that cutting the grass too short and subjecting it to extra wear and tear adds to the problem. At the same time we want the lawn to look good and often moss, weeds and thatch (the dead growth that remains on the soil surface) detract from the overall effect.

2 Moss infestation

Traditionally triple action lawn products, which kill moss, kill weeds and feed the lawn in a single application sound like the ideal solution.

There are disadvantages: these are mineral or chemical based fertilisers that release nutrients quickly causing a flush of green leaf growth, but often doing little to strengthen roots and the plants overall.

The nutrients are easily soluble so those that are not used immediately are quickly washed from the soil by rain or irrigation.

Fast acting chemical fertilisers must be applied really evenly, otherwise the effect is patchy. Triple action products usually kill moss quite effectively, but only give partial control of weeds where the granules actually stick to the broadleaves of subjects like dandelions and daisies.

3 Vitax Green Up Enhance

The alternative is to use an organic based fertiliser which breaks down slowly after application, delivering nutrients over a longer period, gradually strengthening and greening the grass.

This type of fertiliser has been popular with professionals for some time and is now available to the gardener. Vitax Green Up Enhance Lawn Feed combines organic nutrients with amino acids, humic acids and beneficial micro-organisms.

This helps to improve the soil immediately around the grass plants. The micro-organisms form a relationship with the grass roots aiding the process of converting the organic nutrients to readily available plant nutrients, making them readily available for the grass to absorb and utilise.

4 Moss, thatch and weeds

Vitax Enhance does not contain a moss killer, but it does contain a “thatch buster” which helps to break down that dead material which hangs around at soil level forcing the grass leaves to grow up towards the light, choking the base of the plants.

How to feed your lawn in spring

5 Rake out the moss

1. Rake out the moss

There was some moss in my lawn, but not too much so I didn’t use a moss killer. If infestation had been heavier I would have used a solution of Sulphate of Iron in water the previous week (use 25g per litre/ 1oz per 2 pints max.). This is inexpensive and effective. I raked out the moss with a spring tine lawn rake, this removes lots of the thatch as well and scratches the soil surface enabling the fertiliser to penetrate.

6 Rake up the debris

2. Rake off the debris

I then use a plastic lawn rake to rake up the moss and thatch and remove any debris leaving the lawn clean and ready for fertiliser application. This is a good time to reassess. You still have time to apply a moss killer at this point and repeat the preparation process a week later. I wouldn’t tackle weds at this stage. Weedkillers work more efficiently when temperatures are higher; liquid spot treatments are far more effective in late spring.

7 Follow the instructions

3. Prepare to apply the fertiliser.

Using an organic lawn fertiliser is far less risky than fast acting chemical products. Even application is less crucial, but over application is unnecessary and wasteful. Read the instructions and work out the area. The fertiliser will go further than you think.

8 Using a lwan spreader

4. Apply the fertiliser.

Ideally use a lawn spreader. This must be done when the grass is dry, otherwise the spreader blocks up. If you are not sure of the setting be cautious. I usually apply at about half the recommended dosage and then go over the area again at right angles. This gives a more even spread and you can repeat until the required amount has gone through the spreader, even if you go over the same area two or three times.

9 applying lawn fertiliser by hand

5. Apply by hand.

On small areas and in awkward corners Vitax Enhance can be applied by hand. The small grey granules sprinkle easily and because of its nature you do not run the risk of scorching areas of grass by over-application.

10 Ten days later

The grass starts to look greener after a few days and ten days later should be a rich emerald green. If it doesn’t rain don’t panic.

There is less danger of scorch because the release of nutrients just slows down in dry conditions because the activity of the micro-organisms slows.

Thankfully most of us are less fussy about our lawns than we used to be. Personally I want a green space and I don’t mind if some of that is occupied by other plants that grow with the grass.

I do spot treat some lawn weeds such as dandelions and plantains, but I encourage the white clover and allow a few daisies to invade. This makes for a much more wildlife friendly lawn which fits with this organic approach to grass feeding.

11 Clover Lawn

To find out more about Vitax Green Up Enhance, including the liquid formulation and Autumn Lawn fertiliser visit the website:

Further Study

A Gardener’s Guide To The Perfect Lawn

Andy McIndoe

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