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View Full Version : No fert this fall???


Organic a go go
10-20-2008, 03:42 PM
Heretical I know.

Now Im not talking about all my accounts. But my four oldest accounts, all organic at least three years, look much much better than their neighbors or my newer accounts. Much better. Growth is much more vigorous and the green is suprising even to me. These are all lawns that get a lot of leaf mulch this time of year, more so than my other accounts.

In any case Im thinking of foregoing a fert app for them this fall. All the po's are tickled to death and I'd love to tell them that the years of going organic are starting to pay off, just pass that fert savings on to them. Its a hit in the wallet though.

I haven't read anything about fert apps breaking down leaf mulch more quickly but that's my only concern.

cudaclan
10-20-2008, 04:45 PM
And there you have it. I say no need, even with the carbon (leaf) added. I normally squirt some blood meal for N. The earthworm activity during Spring will aid in aerification and soil composition.

Organic a go go
10-20-2008, 05:08 PM
Yeah that's my thought. Im all over the 'burbs and Im the ONLY guy I've seen yet not paying a crew to load leaves onto a tarp and throw them in the back of their truck. It's just such a waste. I do compost some and on one property in particular with many large trees I compost and spread leaves as mulch into the beds but most just go into the lawn. I haven't had anybody complain about the look ever. In fact the other day one of my new accounts asked when I'd be shredding the leaves over the lawn, she's been concerned about how it'll look. Told her I've been doing it already for weeks. They had no idea.

treegal1
10-20-2008, 05:18 PM
:clapping::clapping::clapping:


also the blood is one great chelating agent loads of Fe and other metals that the plant needs, like boron, we just got 3000 gallons of " horse blood " its not really horse blood but that's what we call it. smells like a tattoo parlor

phasthound
10-20-2008, 05:33 PM
:clapping::clapping::clapping:


also the blood is one great chelating agent loads of Fe and other metals that the plant needs, like boron, we just got 3000 gallons of " horse blood " its not really horse blood but that's what we call it. smells like a tattoo parlor

Great, now I know what a tattoo parlor smells like. Thanks tree! :)

DUSTYCEDAR
10-20-2008, 06:02 PM
i know what horse blood smells like and i just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about a tattoo

Exact Rototilling
10-20-2008, 06:35 PM
What kind of mower are you using for maximum leaf break down when mowing? Toro 36-52" WB with recycler add-on under the deck? Just Gator blades?

treegal1
10-20-2008, 08:23 PM
well i did not get this ink in church.LOLOL

we use the Dixie chopper to shred all the time!! cut the hedge and run the Dixie to rake haul and mulch all in one pass, gator blades make all the difference in the world!!! helps if they a Samara sharp

NattyLawn
10-20-2008, 08:55 PM
Heretical I know.

Now Im not talking about all my accounts. But my four oldest accounts, all organic at least three years, look much much better than their neighbors or my newer accounts. Much better. Growth is much more vigorous and the green is suprising even to me. These are all lawns that get a lot of leaf mulch this time of year, more so than my other accounts.

In any case Im thinking of foregoing a fert app for them this fall. All the po's are tickled to death and I'd love to tell them that the years of going organic are starting to pay off, just pass that fert savings on to them. Its a hit in the wallet though.

I haven't read anything about fert apps breaking down leaf mulch more quickly but that's my only concern.

If the hit in the wallet is a concern, what about a tea app? Fall is the best time to build biology.

Smallaxe
10-21-2008, 08:41 AM
Congratulations!!!

You do realize of course, that according to university studies and reports from the field tests conducted by agricultural extension agents and the conclusions of "...the Emperor and Tom", that what you have accomplished isn't possible.

If you don't believe me just ask the Fert/Herb forum. :laugh:

If you have been doing the mulching of leaves for years now your biology should be ready to go. Water will be your limitting factor for rapid decomp of the mulched leaves.

Again thanks for the report.

treegal1
10-21-2008, 09:57 AM
hey dont try and tell me that the world is not flat!!! we would fall off.


and the sky is falling..............................

Smallaxe
10-21-2008, 07:11 PM
Now that you have a notable success story for the Midwest, you should have a scenario as to how you accomplished it. :)

I for one would be interestted to hear how you did it.
Any real world experience can help us all tweak our strategies.

cudaclan
10-21-2008, 07:52 PM
My first adventure in leaf composting (23 years-ago) consisted of stuffing plastic bags with leaf. In my naive attempt, hoping it would decompose during Winter's snow. When the garden is put to rest, I drive around the neighborhood and raid the bagged leaves set out for pick-up. Run them through the shredder and blanket winter crops and susceptible (cold) plants. Come Spring, earthworm activity has started to take place under the leaf matting.

Organic a go go
10-22-2008, 02:15 PM
Don't know if that's directed at me Smallaxe or not but to say I've had a "stategy" sounds a little too sophisticated for me. I make it clear when I sign a new account that I don't bag clippings or leaves. We can mulch or compost depending on the customer's wishes but I *don't take anything off a customer's property*.

That's always been my approach but it has some other pay offs too. I can get my equipment in a smaller truck, no trailer, and keep my gas costs waaayyyy low. At the height of it this summer my highest weekly fuel cost was $85. Truck, equipment, everything. No dumping fees either of course, not that I think most of these guys are paying to dump.

As for equipment I've got a variety of mowers but ( more heresy ) I swear the thing I like to use most is my old Craftsman 6.75 hp mower that I bought for my personal use at home. I only use to shred and I do have a Gator blade on now but it did a better job than most of my other equipment with the blade Sears put on it. Bags better too. It takes a lot more work to keep it running but when its going its hard to beat.

treegal1
10-22-2008, 04:02 PM
:clapping::clapping:*don't take anything off a customer's property*.yes thats the hot ticket


me and ax where just havin some fun with the non believers!!!!me i dont even believe any more, I KNOW THIS WORKS!!!!!!!

Daner
10-22-2008, 05:00 PM
That why the leaves are a colour of Gold...Great report

Smallaxe
10-22-2008, 07:42 PM
*don't take anything off a customer's property*.yes thats the hot ticket

Its called nutrient cycling and it is thee hot ticket. Maybe bad for the wallet, but then again one could always charge more for less work, because they are getting a quality product on many different levels. :)

I wish I could do that. Some folk I have convinced to leave the grass clippings, but there is this time of year in which I have huge amounts of pine needles and oak leaves. By next spring when the last leaf is picked up, many lawns will have averaged - a pick-up load per 2 or 3 k. We would have a lot of dead grass by the time the microbes woke up next spring.

So, go go, Did you do much with ferts, compost, teas, etc.??
How did you build up the fertility of the soil to the point that it didn't need any thing special for the winter?

Organic a go go
10-23-2008, 07:30 PM
Axe most of these properties have only been getting tea in the form of Bill's product this season. Now yes I have sprayed some non State sanctioned homebrew (shhhhhhh ) a couple of times in a pinch but other than that I've only mulched and used Milorganite with a mix of SBM and dry Molasses for fert over a period of three years. Again this is just a small sample of my accounts. My newer accounts still need fert this fall.

Somewhere Kiril will cackle an evil laugh but I have to admit that the weak link in my story is that I don't have before/after soil tests to compare and contrast. I'd be the first to tell you that I can't quantify all my results but the model seems to stand up so far. I guess the real tell of the tape will be next spring. If I don't fert these properties what will I be dealing with in early May??

Im not claiming to have re-invented the wheel. I've just always operated from the assumption that OM is *always* going to pay off.

dishboy
10-23-2008, 08:53 PM
:clapping::clapping:*don't take anything off a customer's property*.yes thats the hot ticket


me and ax where just havin some fun with the non believers!!!!me i dont even believe any more, I KNOW THIS WORKS!!!!!!!

I'm on board with leaving clippings and leaves. For us northern guys this is hard, healthy growing turf is hard to mulch and get the cut that bagging gives with zero visible clippings. That said it is possible with the new Walker mulch deck and by modifying other mowers to duplicate their technology. When ever I get a new account I usually bag the first cut and and then I will start mulching. So far 100% conversion. :rolleyes:

treegal1
10-23-2008, 10:05 PM
class 1 and 1A bio soilids and compost can be applyed with out a label, this covers worm casts as well, and they can be applied with water or with out, so a tea is not out of the question

DUSTYCEDAR
10-23-2008, 10:11 PM
Sweet'''''''''''''''''

Smallaxe
10-24-2008, 06:44 AM
go go, there had been some discussion about soil testing not revealing the potential nutrients made available by healthy living soil, therefore not being a realistic measure of what we really would like to know.

The proof is in the pudding as they say and it appears you are looking at some pretty impressive pudding rite now. Good deal. :)

Are you plugging or spading the ground to see and monitor the root zone?
Without any additional ferts on top, this fall, and several years of OM working into the soil; You may have a better root depth than b4.

Kiril
10-24-2008, 08:05 AM
go go, there had been some discussion about soil testing not revealing the potential nutrients made available by healthy living soil, therefore not being a realistic measure of what we really would like to know.

Depends on how extensive the tests are. One of the best "tests" you can do cheaply is a photographic or physical record of soil cores showing the progression of the program over time.