Did you know that the average family yard can have more chemicals acre for acre than the average farmland? Lawn and garden chemical fertilizers and weed control products are the main culprit. While it's convenient to have a lawn service treat your grass periodically throughout the season, over time what is the health affect on your family and pets who come in daily contact with those chemicals.
You can decrease the toxicity of your lawn by not using the nitrogen-rich, fast-releasing fertilizers. In its place, use a mulching lawn mower so that your soil is fed by the clippings. In addition, applying compost once or twice a year also helps keep your lawn's soil healthy, and a thick, healthy lawn will choke out weeds over time. Raking the larger bare spots and applying grass seed is also helpful. Seeds need to be kept moist by rains or daily watering until the grass seed sprouts and the roots are well-forming. Spring and Fall are the best times for seeding as we get many good soaking rains which will cut down on hand watering.
There are organic lawn care products you can apply yourself that work well. Some of the most common yard weeds in our area are crabgrass and dandelions. Both of these weeds thrive in poor and compacted soil. Aerating your lawn is helpful, as well as testing your soil's PH, and using lime or sulfur to adjust it. In the case of dandelions, your soil most likely has a calcium imbalance. Corn-gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that is best applied in early Spring.
Dandelions have many herbal health benefits so you might want to dig them up rather than kill them. When I was young, my grandma used the flowers to make wine, and the leaves were used in a wilted salad with bacon, onion and a vinegar dressing. Dandelions are rich in Vitamin A, C, iron, and calcium. It is a great detoxifier, and is often used for liver, kidney, and urinary tract and digestive issues, as well as skin ailments such as eczema, achne and ringworm.