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The Organic Lawn Care Manual: An All-Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Safe and Beautiful Yard [Hardcover]

Paul Tukey

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Book Description

Jan. 30 2007
In the modern suburban landscape, beautiful, green lawns are perhaps the most ubiquitous feature of all. It’s difficult to imagine a friendly neighborhood without broad, clean stretches of neatly shorn grass. More and more in recent years, those lawns are evolving into organic systems as homeowners — concerned about the long-term effects of chemicals on their children, their pets, and the environment — turn to natural methods to keep their yards healthy and inviting, and, yes, still green and lush, too.

Paul Tukey, a self-confessed mowing addict, answers the growing demand for organic grass with a comprehensive volume of natural lawncare information. Step by step, he takes readers through the many elements that work together to form a healthy, organic lawn. Well-treated soil, fed properly with compost and natural fertilizers, is the foundation of every great lawn. Plant it with a grass cultivar matched properly to the climate and sunlight, nourish the soil and grass with the proper amount of water, and maintain the height with a good mower equipped with a sharp blade. A beautiful, naturally maintained lawn can be as simple as that.

An organic, healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds and pests, but when unwanted visitors creep in, Tukey is ready with Weed and Thug ID Guides and advice on dispatching them naturally or learning to live with the benign offenders. Tukey also provides helpful advice for lawnkeepers making the transition from a synthetic to an organic lawn system. It’s all here — everything today’s homeowner needs to keep his lawn off drugs, and make it an inviting living and play area for the whole family.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

For homeowners tired of their chemical-saturated lawns, this book provides step-by-step guidance for "get[ting] your lawn off drugs." Tukey, a lifelong lawn lover, started mowing as a teenager, and as the owner of a successful lawn care company, he was well entrenched in the "weed 'n' feed" method prevalent since the 1940s: "With one pass of a lawn spreader, we could feed the grass" (with chemical fertilizers), "kill the weeds" (with pesticides) "and still have time for a round of golf at the course we so envied"). When, after years on the job, he began to experience nosebleeds and shortness of breath, his doctor ordered him to stop using lawn chemicals, and that was the beginning of his commitment to organic lawn care. His lively and passionate instruction—on soil structure and how to improve it; grass varieties; "starting a lawn from scratch"; natural lawn foods; "watering dews and don'ts"; and how to deal with moles, voles, grubs and bugs—are interspersed with inspirational tales of natural-lawn activists. With an appendix on lawn games, from croquet to badminton, this book will delight lawn fanatics and provide sound advice for those who simply want to maintain their yard. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Tukey, the editor and publisher of People, Places & Plants magazine, offers gardeners what he calls "how-to methods for safe, effective lawn care" and avoiding the use of chemicals. He explains how to evaluate lawn-care needs, how grass grows (what he labels grass anatomy), how to create healthy soil, and how to select grass that is drought tolerant and disease and pest resistant. There are chapters on starting a lawn from scratch or refurbishing an existing lawn, making the transition from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, watering, weeding, dealing with pests and diseases, and mowing and maintenance. Included is a helpful glossary, a list of ground covers, and many color photographs. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, balanced (and scary) Feb. 19 2007
By A. Dolan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the first organic gardening book I've purchased. And I literally read it the same way I read fiction - cover to cover. I found Paul's narrative style, with family pictures and hardcore science simply fun to read. While many of the statistics are scary (e.g., more gasoline is spilled refilling lawn and garden equipment than was spilled from the Exxon Valdez!) Paul avoids being preachy. The book follows a logical sequence with chapters focused on specific steps -e.g. evaluating what you have, pros and cons of different transitions, watering, weeds, pests, and even games to play on nice grass! He provides plenty of warnings of how initially your lawn may not look as good, but the end result is worth it. Although Paul's base is in Maine, he seemed to cover the country pretty well. As a result of reading this book, I plan to make the transition this year.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but light on real information June 8 2008
By riotbrrd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is like too many "green" or "organic" books lately. It spends as much time arguing for its existence (i.e. why you should manage your lawn organically) as it does providing practical information for how to do it successfully. OK, I bought the book already -- you don't need to convince me!

It was frustrating that, when I needed a solution to a real problem, all the book told me was: if you plant your lawn the way we've told you, you won't have this problem. Not much help!

On the plus side, I did learn about some good techniques like dethatching.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone can create a beautiful, healthy low-input lawn May 15 2007
By Mark H. Follansbee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Paul describes in plain English how to break the synthetic chemical addiction for our lawns and gardens. In the book, Paul explains how organic methods can be used to work with nature (rather than against it) to create a beautiful, healthy low-input lawn. The book is clearly organized and can be used as a how-to manual for people who are new to organic methods or an excellent resource for experienced readers who want to try other approaches. Paul's book also has some fantastic photos of brewing some compost tea!
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book you're looking for May 20 2007
By Beanhauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm trying to get started on an organic lawn. I've been to lots of (sometimes contradictory) websites, talked to local contractors, and ordered another lawn book. This book is becoming my manual for an organic lawn. It has a lot of detail, great pictures that are truly illustrative, and offers a complete approach to creating a healthy organic lawn.

It should also be noted that the author is not a crunchy hippy who is happy with a weed-filled patch of land. He is/was a professional landscaper who understands the appeal of a beautiful green lawn. He also understands that it can be created, and created better, without the application of synthetic chemicals. I think this gives the book credibility, as the reader can start from the assumption that a beautiful, healthy yard is the goal...an organic lawn is not assumed or allowed to be a substandard lawn.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous Feb. 14 2008
By Troy McClure - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I first looked into organic lawn care for not-so-noble reasons. I have a pool in my backyard, which means that using any nitrogen-rich fertilizer back there risks getting nitrates in the pool water, which is a big no-no for pool owners. I hoped that organic lawn care could provide me with a way to care for my backyard without endangering the pool water. That's not to say that I didn't care about the environment; it just wasn't my first priority.

However, in reading this book, I've become downright enthusiastic about, not just helping the environment, but having a great yard *while* helping the environment. As other reviewers noted, the author does not ask us to settle for inferior lawns in order to help the environment. He is passionate about having a great lawn -- and doing it the right way.

There are essentially two ways to get great looking lawns: treat it with chemicals, or follow the organic route described in this book. They can both produce great looking lawns, but there is a difference. I liken the comparison to making a person look better through either plastic surgery or exercise. Plastic surgery is fast and can have some incredible results, though it does nothing to improve the actual health of the person. Whereas exercising can probably get to the same end, though with a bit more effort, especially at the beginning. However, even though the results may look similar, underneath the person who has been exercising is stronger, fitter, and more able to cope with the physical stresses of life. Similarly, with a bit more effort (at least, at the beginning), an organically cared-for lawn can look great and be healthier and stronger than a chemically cared-for lawn.

I'm ditching the remainder of my Scott's Four-step weed-and-feed lawn care process and embarking on *really* caring for my lawn. Thank you Paul Tukey for opening my eyes!

PS - as an added bonus, I *can* care for my lawn organically without endangering my pool water.

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