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Enroll Your Lawn in the Organic Lawn Program!

Do you have an organic lawn that you are proud of? Enroll your Organic Lawn, and inspire your neighbors!

We’re looking for actively maintained lawns that are cared for without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  Your lawn can help demonstrate to your neighbors that a lush and beautiful green lawn can be achieved organically.

Enrolling in Montgomery County’s Organic Lawn program is easy! You must meet the  3 required criteria, as well as, 4 of the 10 additional criteria.   If you meet these minimum standards then you’ll be enrolled in our program!

As a thank you for going organic, we’ll mail you a  lawn sign,  certificate, and two pairs of gardening gloves – all for free!

Lawns should be primarily turfgrass or other mowable perennial plants, like clover, violets, and even dandelions.

We're proud of our organic lawn


Criteria to be met

The baseline for enrolling is that your lawn is covered in 75% turf grasses or mowable perennial plants, and that no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used. Meet four additional criteria, and your lawn gets our organic stamp of approval!

Required Criteria (All of these conditions must be met to enroll):

  1. You do not use synthetic pesticides on the lawn;
  2. You do not use synthetic fertilizers on the lawn; and
  3. Grass clippings are left on lawn after mowing. 

Must Complete at least 4 Actions from this List:

  • Your lawn is kept more than 3” high. (Lower height acceptable for bluegrass and zoyzia)
  • You use compost or compost tea that was made within 25 miles of the lawn.
  • ​Your leaves and extra grass clippings from your property are composted on the lawn or property. (They should not be disposed of off-site.)
  • You use a solar, electric, or hand powered mower for routine mowing.
  • Organic fertilizers used on the lawn are only sourced from plant materials (no animal by-products or man-made products).
  • You don’t use any man-made/processed fertilizers (with the exception of compost products, mycorrhizae, and other biological inoculants).
  • You test your soil at least once every three years.
  • You don’t water, or you limit watering to between 5am and 9am, and grass is allowed dormancy during dry spells. If present, irrigation systems do not cause runoff from the lawn to other areas.
  • Weeds are hand pulled (no pesticides/biocides, with the exception of GMO-free corn gluten).
  • Your lawn is maintained by a Montgomery County Certified Green Business .


Organic Lawn Self-Certification FAQs

Q: How long does my enrollment last?

A:There is currently no expiration once you are enrolled. This is a self-certification, but we may audit your lawn if it is publicly visible and ask you to re-certify if the lawn doesn’t appear to meet criteria. (We will never enter your property without permission).

Q: Does my lawn have to be only turfgrass?

A: No, but we are looking for lawns that inspire others to switch from a chemically managed lawn regime. Ideally, your lawn would be mostly perennial grasses and flowers that can tolerate mowing and would not create exposed soil in any season.  

Q: Is there a minimum size my lawn needs to be?

A: Your lawn can be smaller than a car, or home, or as far as the eye can see! Golf courses can even be a part of the program — the size or use does not matter!

Q: Does my yard have to be visible to the public?

A: No, your lawn can be in the front or back or surrounded by a fence. (Although we especially like publicly visible locations where your lawn can inspire others and you can proudly display your lawn sign.)

Q: I’ve removed my lawn but manage my new landscape organically. Can I still participate?

A: Kudos to you for putting in a vegetable garden, pollinator garden, or forest! But no, this program aims to improve environmental and health impacts of existing lawns, and to demonstrate that an organic lawn can be an attractive landscape.

Q: I work for a landscape company. Can I enroll my client’s lawn?

A: If your client asks you to submit the application on their behalf, please indicate in the notes that you have received permission from them to submit the application, and we will send the sign and gloves to the property owner’s address.

Q: Do I have to post a sign?

A: No. If you do not wish to have the sign and gloves sent to you, please indicate this in the notes section of your application. Thank you for maintaining a healthy, organic lawn, even without the recognition!    

Q: Can we enroll the lawns of an HOA or apartment complex?

A: Yes. We encourage a board member to submit the application. Please indicate on the application if you have multiple areas where you would like to place signs.

Q: My sign was damaged or stolen. Can I get a replacement?

A: Yes, based on availability. Please contact us at askdep@montgomerycountymd.gov

Q: It’s winter—can I still submit an application?

A: Yes, most lawns are simply dormant in the winter. As long as you meet the criteria, you can submit your application any time of year.

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