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Organic or Not?

Q: My lawn fertilizer not only comes in a green bag, the product itself is green.
A: Not. No matter what color the bag is or what the label claims, the fertilizer isn’t organic if the contents are bright green or blue. Those are the colors of synthetics. Organic fertilizers, such as Ringer® Lawn Restore, get their nutrients from natural ingredients and are colors you find in the real world.
Q. Children and pets can play on the lawn right after I spread weed-and-feed—no need to post warning signs or keep the family off the grass for several days after application.
A: Organic. Corn gluten meal inhibits weed germination, thwarting lawn invaders such as dandelions, crabgrass, and many more. It’s also rich in nitrogen, helping the grass grow thick and green. Corn gluten products, such as Concern® Weed Prevention Plus®, have no residual effects on the environment, so you don’t have to cordon off the lawn after you use them.
Q. When I mow the lawn, I bag the grass clippings and throw them out with the trash.
Answer: Not. Grass clippings are a valuable source of organic matter for the microorganisms in the soil, and they can fill as much as 25 percent of your lawn’s total fertilizer needs, reducing the amount of fertilizer you need to use. Grass clippings are biodegradable but break down very slowly in plastic trash bags.
Q. Neem is the active ingredient in spray I use to kill lawn pests.
A: Organic. Neem, an extract from an evergreen tree native to India, disrupts the feeding and growth of insects. Neem sprays, such as Safer® Brand Neem Oil, target grubs and other lawn-chewing insects, including chinch bugs and armyworms, and are approved for use in organic lawn-care. The toxic pesticides in chemical grub control products have been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, and a variety of other health and environmental problems.
Q. The grass blades often turn brown near the tips after I apply fertilizer.
A: Not. Ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, and urea are the three primary sources of nitrogen in synthetic lawn fertilizers. When used frequently, they are prone to burning the grass, especially in hot weather. Feather meal, a natural source of nitrogen found in Ringer® Lawn Restore and other organic fertilizers, does not burn grass because it breaks down gradually and releases nutrients as needed.
Q. My lawn needs to be dethatched every year.
A: Not. Thatch—a layer of stems, shoots, and roots that form a mat on top of the soil—blocks water and fertilizer from reaching the grass roots. Synthetic fertilizers that stimulate ultra-fast growth of grass produce the excess of surface matter that results in thatch. You can eliminate thatch by spreading compost and other organic materials, which entice earthworms to the surface to consume the excess.
Q. When I dig into my lawn, the soil is moist, pliable, and full of earthworms.
A: Organic. Grass grows naturally thick and lush where the soil is rich in organic matter and has an active population of bacteria, fungi, and earthworms. The organic matter holds moisture for the grass and keeps the soil loose enough for the roots to spread out. Synthetic fertilizers are high in salts, which dry out soil and dehydrate the soil-dwellers.
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OMRI Certified for Organic Gardening Safer® Brand leads the alternative lawn and garden products industry, offering many solutions that are compliant with organic gardening standards. Safer® Brand recognizes this growing demand by consumers and offers a wide variety of products for lawns, gardens, landscapes, flowers, houseplants, insects and more!

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