Groundskeeper Resources

The following is a compilation of resources meant to support groundskeepers, sustainability coordinators, students, and/or community members in their efforts to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Directions: Each resource was assigned tags based on the issues that it addresses. Users are encouraged to hit ‘Ctrl + F’ to search for the respective tags and/or regions of interest. Tags: Alternatives, Basic Overview, Compost, Cost Comparison, Cultural Practices, Design, Disease Control, Emergency Treatment, Fertilizer, Homeowners, Invasive Species, IPM, Irrigation, Lawn Care, Maintenance Schedule, Native Plants, Pest Management, Product Swaps, Schools, Soil, Transition from Synthetic, Turf, WaterRegions: Gulf Coast, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, All Regions

NOFA Organic Lawn Care Guide

  • A comprehensive guide to organic lawn care. This guide provides resources on the effects of pesticides, the importance of soil health, the financial implications of going organic, the culture of organic land care, and dealing with specific pests.

  • Tags: Fertilizer, Pest Management, Alternatives, Soil, Turf, Cultural Practices

  • Regions: Northeast, All Regions

8 Steps to a Toxic-Free Lawn

  • This quick fact sheet is a guide to the basic principles of non-toxic lawn care. It highlights different practices and guiding ideas for transitioning these spaces off of synthetic chemicals.

  • Tags: Lawn Care, Alternatives, Soil, Cultural Practices

  • Regions: All Regions

Earth Easy’s Organic Lawn Care Guide

  • This guide provides the basics of caring for an organic lawn. It provides tips for managing pests, routine care, and going organic. Although it’s primarily focused on residential lawns, it also offers a few tips applicable to larger lawns and golf courses.

  • Tags: Lawn Care, Pest Management, Water

  • Regions: All Regions

Ecological Landscaping Tools for Massachusetts Homeowners

  • This guide recognizes that “our traditional lawn and garden care replaces native forests, wetlands, and other wildlife habitats with monocultural landscapes.” It seeks to remedy this by giving ideas and tools for how to make one’s yard fit into the larger ecosystem, conserving water, preserving biodiversity, and saving time. It includes both a design guide and a maintenance guide.

  • Tags: Homeowners, Water, Native Plants, Design, Pest Management

  • Region: Northeast

Florida Friendly Landscaping Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design 

  • This guide features eight real design scenarios that highlight what can be done to create healthier, more environmentally sound lawn landscapes. While these designs were created to minimize negative impacts on the landscape, they are not all completely organic. 

  • Tags: Basic Overview, Design, Fertilizer, Homeowners, Native Plants, Pest Management, Water

  • Region: Southeast 

IPM at School: A How-to Manual for New Jersey Schools

  • A guide from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Pesticide Control Program for school district superintendents, local school boards, principals, IPM coordinators and other administrators for implementing an IPM program. It was created in response to the School IPM Act, which mandated that schools have an IPM program. This manual outlines day-to-day and site-specific issues including how to handle certain pests.

  • Other Supporting Docs: 

  • Tags: IPM, Schools, Pest Management

  • Region: Northeast

Least-Toxic Control of Pests: Lawns/ Landscapes/ Gardens

  • This is a database of more than thirty different potential pests in lawns, landscapes, and gardens and a resource for evaluating various types of pests, including invasive plant species.

  • Tags: Pest Management, Alternatives

  • Regions: All Regions

Least Toxic Control of Weeds - Beyond Pesticides

  • General information on weed prevention, management, and solutions. This guide provides alternatives to toxic pesticides.

  • Tags: Product Swaps, Alternatives

  • Regions: All Regions

Mom’s Across America Guide to RoundUp Alternatives

  • Provides the everyday person with easy and safe RoundUp/glyphosate alternatives.

  • Tags: Product Swaps

  • Regions: All Regions

North Carolina Extension’s Organic Lawn Care Guide

  • This guide describes how to establish a new lawn and maintain it organically and how to transition an existing lawn into an organic lawn. It relies on IPM principles and highlights organic solutions to pests and weeds common to North Carolina. 

  • Tags: Turf, Pest Management, Disease Control 

  • Region: South East (North Carolina)

Ohio State University Extension’s Organic Lawn Care Guide 

  • This guide is on how to evaluate the health of one’s lawn as well as how to manage the lawn in an organic way.

  • Tags: Fertilizer, Transition from Synthetic, Irrigation, Pest Management, Maintenance Schedule  

  • Region: Midwest (Ohio)

Organic Landcare Best Management Practices Manual

  • An in-depth guide to transitioning your land to organic management. It provides information and resources on the initial assessment of the soil, wildlife, pests, and irrigation.

  • Tags: Soil, Turf, Pest Management, Water, Native Plants, Invasive Species, Emergency Treatment

  • Region: Northeast 

Organic Land Care Project (Rutgers University) 

  • New Jersey based guide to organic lawn care. This guide is for landscaping managers and landscape contractors on “best management practices for effectively conducting organic land care.”

  • Tags: Alternatives, Basic Overview, Compost, Disease Control, Invasive Species, Lawn Care, Native Plants, Pest Management, Product Swaps, Soil, Transition from Synthetic, Turf, Water

  • Region: Northeast, All Regions

The Common Sense Gardening Guide to Natural Lawn Care

  • This Common Sense Gardening Guide offers practical advice for maintaining an attractive and healthy lawn “the natural way,” while reducing the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and water.

  • Tags: Alternatives, Lawn Care

  • Region: Northwest

Turf Comparison Report

  • This report offers a comparison of the cost of managing conventional turf versus natural turf. Based on mid-level turf management programs, this study found that natural (organic) turf management can lead to a 25% increase in savings compared to conventional management. 

  • Tags: Cost Comparison

  • Regions: All Regions

Turf Management Mobile

  • A website that provides recommendations for treatments depending on the turf disease, turf weeds, and/or turf pests.

  • Tags: Product Swaps

  • Region: Midwest, All Regions

University of Wisconsin’s Organic and Reduced-Risk Lawn Care Guide 

  • This guide is meant for Wisconsin homeowners who aim to have a completely organic or “reduced-risk” lawn, meaning they utilize the ‘safest’ pesticides on the market in minimal amounts. It provides soil testing resources and how to understand the soil test results. 

  • Tags: Basic Overview, Compost, Pest Management,

  • Region: Midwest