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westwind
03-11-2006, 09:03 AM
Want to start adding a de-thatch product to my program this year. I was interested to know if any of you use the Lesco chemical. If so, how is it and which do you use. Any suggestions would be great!

garydale
03-11-2006, 10:28 AM
I would rather see you core aerate to bring up exsisting soil. That would help keep thatch under control.

Do you know what milogrnite is ,where it comes from and its limitations.
Clue: Milwalki,sewage sludge and heavy metals.

westwind
03-11-2006, 12:09 PM
We already aerate and are looking for an organic product to lay that will not increase nitrogen. Hoping to help break the thatch down with a control product. Is there another chemical i should look at?

westwind
03-12-2006, 12:12 PM
Anyone have any suggestions??:confused:

Xterminator
03-12-2006, 01:35 PM
Anyone have any suggestions??:confused:
I use a product called Siol Life & Super Bio made By AMS

robertsturf
03-12-2006, 02:29 PM
Use it as an organic addimate for the soil. I wouldn't market as a thatch reducing tool. Cultural practices and aerification will help with those. Milorganite is what we use in combination with our aerification process.

Critical Care
03-12-2006, 06:20 PM
There are several products listed on Google for breaking down thatch. One that I've used in the past is described here:

http://www.johnsonsgarden.com/pdfs/naturalguard.pdf

or another website showing the product:

http://panhandlegreenhouses.com/fertilome.htm

MStine315
03-12-2006, 06:29 PM
If you're looking at organics, you may want to consider the Nature Safe lineup. Similar responses to Milorganite, but geared more towards feeding the microbes. This, along with a aeration program may provide the results you're looking for. www.naturesafe.com (I think?)

morturf
03-12-2006, 10:35 PM
I would rather see you core aerate to bring up exsisting soil. That would help keep thatch under control.

Do you know what milogrnite is ,where it comes from and its limitations.
Clue: Milwalki,sewage sludge and heavy metals.

Milorganite no longer has heavy metals in amounts that are not in what you are already eating. The source was identified and eliminated. The people of Milwaukee are great folks...they produce the best fertilizer on the planet. And yes it is sewage sludge, they incinerate it. I have used THOUSANDS of tons of this product. It works like no other. It is expensive and time consuming but it will work in a program like you are describing. Milorganite has great information about its products on the web.
I post this piece for the heavy metal part.
http://www.milorganite.com/about/regulations.cfm

barefootlawnsandlandscape
03-13-2006, 07:58 PM
When I was a golf course superintendent I used a product called Nature Safe. It is a great product that will provide controlled growth with great color. It promotes microbial activity to help control thatch production. It was also very cheap, around $13 a bag. The smell is a little strong, but it only last for a day. The only way to prevent a thatch problem is a good aerification program. Most of the chemicals that say they reduce thatch are snake oils. A good healthy soil with good microbial activity is the best way to prevent excessive thatch production, but if you have grass you are going to have thatch.

Critical Care
03-17-2006, 09:18 PM
The only way to prevent a thatch problem is a good aerification program.

Really? Um, I wouldn't totally agree. Aerification surely helps to promote healthy turf, however I wouldn't say that it prevents thatch. Thatch of course is a result of several factors which all contribute to it, such as type of grass, irrigation, and chemical application practices. Unfortunately, in some cases it will probably be impossible to totally get away from dethatching some turf.

My guess is that some of these decomposting materials will work better given the right environmental conditions that favor their biological action.

garydale
03-18-2006, 10:53 AM
You have to work with the soil your grass is growing on.

Keep adding top dressings without aeration and you will create "soil horizons" that are as bad if not worse than a thatch layer.

What are soil horizons? Look it up, but basically its layers of material that act differently. Blocking movement of air,water,nutrients and roots.

Jslimjeff
03-23-2006, 02:02 AM
Im frm Milwaukee, I use it Consistantly. Here it goes for 4.80 per 50#. and the nice thing about milorganite it will not burn. no way no how... Also is very high in Iron so you will get the benifits. If you got there site they have some specific instructions for shrbs and trees. I have used these methods for the past two years atmy residence with profound results. I am debating on taking my trailer don to the Waste treatment site and you can by a 1000# Tub for a great discount.

NattyLawn
03-23-2006, 10:36 AM
You have to work with the soil your grass is growing on.

Keep adding top dressings without aeration and you will create "soil horizons" that are as bad if not worse than a thatch layer.

What are soil horizons? Look it up, but basically its layers of material that act differently. Blocking movement of air,water,nutrients and roots.

I don't know if that's the case. If you add compost top dressings, the compost will open up the pore spaces to allow more air and water to penetrate into a clay soil. In sandy soil, the top dressing will attach to fine particles, making them larger and able to hold larger amounts of water.

From what I have read, soil horizons are naturally occuring, and I would think that an organic fert program along with topdressing would stimulate microbial activity and allow for proper aeration naturally.

garydale
03-23-2006, 12:17 PM
I would accept topdressing only as a followup of heavy aeration where the aeration core holes would get filled with organic matter.

On the surface the topdressing can "crust over" blocking air/water movement, create a seed bed for weed seeds and wash away in heavy rain.

The goal should be to encourage deep turf roots. Heavy or repeated topdressing alone will bring grass roots up to the surface. That would compound thatch buildup not reduce it.

Critical Care
03-23-2006, 01:44 PM
Unless if you somehow directly incorporate it within, I would assume that topdressing with organic matter really isn't going to modify the soil structure. And outside of ripping up the turf with a rototiller, aeration probably is the best bet. However, even with clay, nutrients will leach downward and offer some benefits from topdressing.

I generally always believe that there's a cavaet associated with topdressing. Too much too soon can be bad...

Hey Jslimfeff, I'm hoping that your Milorganite doesn't have anything to do with "the beer that made Milwaukee famous!"

NattyLawn
03-23-2006, 01:46 PM
I would accept topdressing only as a followup of heavy aeration where the aeration core holes would get filled with organic matter.

On the surface the topdressing can "crust over" blocking air/water movement, create a seed bed for weed seeds and wash away in heavy rain.

The goal should be to encourage deep turf roots. Heavy or repeated topdressing alone will bring grass roots up to the surface. That would compound thatch buildup not reduce it.

On the contrary, topdressing actually creates a "crumb structure" or aggregates, that loosen the soil and allow water and air to penetrate better. Compost doesn't create a crust over or hardpan, it alleviates it in clay soils. There's no theory that compost would allow for a weed bed. Properly composted, the heat generated by the composting process would eliminate almost all of the weed seeds.

Those nutrients, microbes and everything else in compost can be leached down to other soil horizons. In what I've found on them, nothing is as drastic as you mentioned a few posts ago. Once again, the use of organic ferts and topdressings should have enough microbial activity to reduce thatch buildup anyway. I don't see roots returning to the surface but will they go to as far as the water level ends? Maybe...Is that on the surface? No. The O and A soil horizons generally run about 10 inches deep from what I've read. On this forum, I don't think anyone is just adding topdressing without ferts or soil amendments.

Critical Care
03-23-2006, 08:17 PM
When the upper O (organic) horizon begins to decompose, it will add nutrients to the A horizon, and the A to the B horizon through water. Are these layers only naturally occurring? Since fallen leaves, dead bugs, and other organic things make up the upper horizon, I'm not sure how it could be only naturally occurring. An application of ground up dead bug compost wouldn't really be a natural occurrence, but would become part of that organic layer.

NattyLawn, it is true that properly composted material should be free from weed seed, however perhaps Garydale was thinking more along the line of it becoming a haven for weed seeds after application, rather than through the composting process. There is no law saying that weed seeds that blow in from next door onto a very nice fertile layer of compost won’t germinate. This however is less likely to happen with a very light topdressing applied over a vigorous lawn.

But… I had a client who mulched his tall fescue lawn for years. Mulching is good, right? The problem was that this mulch kept building up and not decomposing fast enough. The result created areas within the turf to literally die back from suffocation. It was a classic case of too much of a good thing. By the end of the season of mowing and collecting, the lawn had begun to fill back in, and by the next season it looked really good.

NattyLawn
03-23-2006, 09:12 PM
When the upper O (organic) horizon begins to decompose, it will add nutrients to the A horizon, and the A to the B horizon through water. Are these layers only naturally occurring? Since fallen leaves, dead bugs, and other organic things make up the upper horizon, I'm not sure how it could be only naturally occurring. An application of ground up dead bug compost wouldn't really be a natural occurrence, but would become part of that organic layer.

NattyLawn, it is true that properly composted material should be free from weed seed, however perhaps Garydale was thinking more along the line of it becoming a haven for weed seeds after application, rather than through the composting process. There is no law saying that weed seeds that blow in from next door onto a very nice fertile layer of compost won’t germinate. This however is less likely to happen with a very light topdressing applied over a vigorous lawn.

But… I had a client who mulched his tall fescue lawn for years. Mulching is good, right? The problem was that this mulch kept building up and not decomposing fast enough. The result created areas within the turf to literally die back from suffocation. It was a classic case of too much of a good thing. By the end of the season of mowing and collecting, the lawn had begun to fill back in, and by the next season it looked really good.

I thought of the weed seeds blowing in after I replied. Just didn't process that one. :hammerhead:

As far as the mulching goes, of course there can be too much of a good thing.

salandscape
03-23-2006, 09:44 PM
Back to the orginal question. Thantch build up in chemical lawns is due to the fact that chemicals kill benefical microbes that break down thatch. Looking for another chemical to prevent thatch is like adding a bandaid to a bandaid. You need to get back to the soil and start to feed that, this coupled with aeration will help to reduce thatch. It's time to start looking at organics, the chemicals just aren't going to sustain us in the futeure. look at Westchester county, grasroots programs to eleminate chemical fertilizers, Nova Scotia is on it's way to out right bans on residential chemical fertilizer. stay ahead of the curve.

Neal Wolbert
03-23-2006, 11:03 PM
Have you looked into adding microbes themselves? A regular practice for us for years and we don't have thatch problems. www.wolberts.com

Grassmechanic
03-24-2006, 10:29 AM
No one has yet mentioned the best way of incorporating top dressed compost into the soil. Earthworms!! Worms do more to breakdown organic matter and distribute it through the soil profiles than any chemical. If you have a healthy earthworm population (and you should) you will likely not have much of a thatch problem.

trying 2b organic
03-24-2006, 09:29 PM
For organic topdressing - overseed heavily afterward and dont do it at the exact moment bad annual spreading weeds are germinating. (yes i speak from experience, black medic took over but as it passed the seed that was there did its thing- awsome lawns)

Esp if you are using a cool season germinator like P. Rye u can start topdressing and overseeding now, weeks before the peak annual weed season.