Steve Thomas’ lawn gets a little greener every year. Not the grass — the way he maintains it.

“I’ve never owned a power mower, and my fertilizer has always been organic,” he said. “In the early years, I used Roundup, but I’ve gotten away from that now.” Instead, he’s trying corn gluten meal to curb dandelions and crabgrass on his yard overlooking Minneapolis’ West River Parkway.

Thomas knows organic weed control isn’t a quick fix, but he’s willing to wait. “It’s not a moral crusade for me, but I’ve got kids and a dog,” he said.

Households using only natural or organic lawn products represent a small minority — about 5 percent of the market, according to a 2004 survey by the National Gardening Association — but their numbers are expected to increase.

About 50 percent of those surveyed said they probably would go organic in the future, according to Bruce Butterfield, research director for the association. “I think it’s part and parcel of the whole green movement — hybrid cars, organic produce and natural lawn care,” he said.

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