(NaturalNews) Increasing numbers of consumers are turning to organic methods to maintain their lawns, according to a 2008 survey by the National Gardening Association.
The survey found that 12 million households are now caring for their lawns and gardens using only non-synthetic products, an increase of 7 million since 2004.
"You can have a gorgeous lush green lawn going naturally," said Paul Tukey, author of "The Organic Lawn Care Manual."
Organic lawns will never look the same as lawns maintained with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, but increasing numbers of consumers are deciding they prefer the natural look.
"Part of it is the whole image of the way people see their lawns," said Bruce Butterfield of the National Gardening Association. They're not going to get the country club or golf course look if they use only natural fertilizers."
Seattle garden consultant Emily Bishton agrees, stating that she encourages her clients to model their lawns on how a natural grassland looks.
"The main thing that really needs to shift in terms of the way that you approach your lawn is that what you are striving for is how to make my grass as healthy as possible, rather than how do I get rid of these weeds," she said.
Tukey noted that many plants commonly considered weeds can help organic gardeners diagnose nutrient deficiencies in their lawns. Correcting these deficiencies by organic means can then improve the health of the overall lawn and eliminate the weeds.
"Some weeds tell you your lawn is acidic," Tukey said. "Some weeds tell you your lawn is compacted. Some weeds tell you it's too wet."
Other weeds actually correct nutrient deficiencies. Clover, for example, adds nitrogen to the soil. In the mid-twentieth century, clover seed was regularly mixed in with grass seed for this very purpose, said Mike Goatley of Virginia Tech university.