|Barked: Wed May 9, '07 2:42pm PST |
|Hi all, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a sort of "middle road" approach to growing a healthy lawn while maintaining a safe yard for the dogs (and us).
***Holey smokes, I proceeded to write a whole thesis on yard maintenance and fertilizers. I won't take offense if anyone wants to offer opinions without reading all this!***
We rent our house, and the HUGE yard that accompanies it. We lived in the house next door for 2 and a half years and got the yard and garden looking REALLY good, then our lanlord gave us the opportunity to move into the bigger better house next door. Drawback? The 'new' yard needs some serious T.L.C.
If it were my house, I'd do a clover lawn in parts where we wanted grass for the dogs and not use any fertilizers or anything and just deal with how it grew. (Clover is apparently resistant to dog pee damage and doesn't require fertilizer, among other earth-friendly advantages.) Not owning the house I really don't want to spend the money making the lawn what I want, though. The landlord is more than willing to keep up the yard, however his approach is to "weed & feed" with your standard fertilizers and stuff, which makes me uncomfortable with the dogs using the yard to the extent they do. He's a really awesome guy, but I don't know that he would be completely "into" me seeding clover into the grass even if I did want to buy the seed myself. I need to provide some viable alternatives, but don't really know what these might be!
Being raw food eaters, the dogs not only use the yard for playing, but also as a dining room, and there is no doubt they're consuming grass and soil as part of their meals. There are a whole lot of "organic", "natural", and "pet safe" fertilizers out there, but which ones that are even semi-easily available are actually OK to use, especially given this? The dogs not eating (on the) grass is simply out of the question.
There's a product made by big-time grass and fertilizer company Scott's called EcoSense. My husband saw it at Home Depot. I was pretty skeptical that this product was probably that much better than their other fertilizers, but maybe it is? Instead of synthetics the ingredient lists (See label), "feather meal, wheat shorts, nitrate of soda, steamed bone meal, and sulphate of potash". ( Sounds like a cheap kibble! ) While on the surface these "whole" ingredients may be better than a fertilizer made of synthetics, there are some red flags that go up for me.
-- Feather meal is feather meal. High in nitrogen for the lawn, and definitely not a product I'd freak about the dogs ingesting depending on how it was handled. I think handling is my main concern with this fertilizer overall.
-- While bone meal is fine and good, I bet the bone meal isn't food grade, so it may be high in heavy metal contaminates.
-- "Soda of Nitrate" from what I gather is a better sounding name for sodium nitrate. I suppose depending on the source one could argue it's GOOD for the dogs!
-- I'm super against wheat in dog food, but wheat shorts is another product that I wouldn't think would be some huge problem if ingested in the small amounts that would come from fertilizing the lawn with it. Question: What do wheat shorts do for a lawn? Is there some ulterior motive behind using wheat shorts? Do you think these wheat shorts have come into contact with really undesirable compounds (melamine?!?)
Am I totally over-reacing? It's OK to tell me. I can handle it. What do y'all do about getting and keeping a healthy and dog-safe lawn even though you may not have total control?
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