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View Full Version : How thick should I topdress with compost?


Midstate Lawncare
10-29-2008, 07:01 PM
I am not trying to split hairs here, and I understand that some cases will require more or less compost.... My question is What is the "Normal" ammount you would apply topdressing a lawn? 1/4" 1" thankyou in advance.

phasthound
10-29-2008, 07:32 PM
I am not trying to split hairs here, and I understand that some cases will require more or less compost.... My question is What is the "Normal" ammount you would apply topdressing a lawn? 1/4" 1" thankyou in advance.

Normally, I use 1/4" of compost top dress.

Midstate Lawncare
10-29-2008, 09:30 PM
thanks for th reply

growingdeeprootsorganicly
10-30-2008, 12:29 AM
1 yd per 1000 = 1/4" give or take

Barefoot James
10-30-2008, 10:09 PM
We usually just do 1/16 to 1/8 - we are getting 4 to 6K per 30 to 34 cu ft of compost - our purpose is usually to feed the microbes in our tea. Also depends on how much you are charging and what you are trying to accomplish for feeding microbes 1/16 inch dusting is plenty. To cover seed 1/8 is plenty to change soil structure in one application you might need 3 inches. So it depends on your scope (purpose).

DeepGreenLawn
10-30-2008, 11:21 PM
I understand that a lot depends on what is in the compost... do you guys use the compost as your fert with CT? If so, how long does it take with a typical yard to see results that the customer is pleased with? Nice green thick healthy lawns?

I the problem between me and most people here is I am dealing with bermuda which is N hungry... so what is put down is used up pretty quickly it seems...

dtally
10-31-2008, 02:10 AM
Since we are on a compost subject, Anyone ever use ERTH Food.

Compostwerks LLC
10-31-2008, 03:24 AM
I am not trying to split hairs here, and I understand that some cases will require more or less compost.... My question is What is the "Normal" ammount you would apply topdressing a lawn? 1/4" 1" thankyou in advance.

Hi..I'll jump in here!

This is what I would suggest; Take a soil sample and send to a lab for your traditional chemical test....A&L Lab is good. They include an organic matter percentage. If you are below 5%, topdress with 1/4 inch. Test again in several months. This is a good inexpensive way to go about this.

Make sure you take several cores of soil from different parts of the turf and mix together for the soil test. You can get a very accurate average percentage for your lawn.

This (http://www.compostwerks.com/EcoLawn-Applicator.php) is a good way to topdress your lawn.

I hope this helps!

Compostwerks LLC
10-31-2008, 04:26 AM
I understand that a lot depends on what is in the compost... do you guys use the compost as your fert with CT? If so, how long does it take with a typical yard to see results that the customer is pleased with? Nice green thick healthy lawns?

I the problem between me and most people here is I am dealing with bermuda which is N hungry... so what is put down is used up pretty quickly it seems...

Wow, you are so correct about the quality of the compost. It varies wildly. There are 'composts' out there which have so much undigested carbon, it would do some serious damage to your lawns. You can tell a lot by getting a $105.00 windrow thermometer (http://www.reotemp.com/compostshop/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=38&osCsid=8791a736f1a871e9b5db99a63d22c66a) as to how mature the compost is....a good (and necessary) investment if your going to be purchasing compost.

I have been using compost topdressing and teas for turf with really nice results. The key is fixing the soil structure and getting that biology working and out competing weeds.

Compost teas can be effectively used after top dressing in order to inoculate poor compost, or suspect compost which has not been tested. The compost that you use to make your tea must be very special; diverse, high numbers and the correct balance of organisms. This is the compost (http://www.compostwerks.com/documents/Schmidt007870Compost.pdf)that we use/sell for making our compost tea. Diversity is the KEY. Start with the best compost you can, extract that biology with a tested brewer, spray, and let the plant decide which microbes in the tea are applicable.

Applying good compost is like opening up a bank account for your plants...you are depositing biology which is stored and withdrawn when it's needed. Plants release exudates which encourage the growth of fungi and bacteria. The next trophic level consumes (eats) the organisms which were grown as a result of the plants specific exudate. The plant receives it's nutrients in the soluble form when the organism is digested by the higher trophic level, weather it's a protozoa, nematode or other micro arthropod.

These exudates change continuously, based upon moisture, tempurature, stress factors (like scalping) and MANY other factors.

The addition of microbial foods is another 'deposit' you can make into the biology bank. Many of these inputs take some time to 'clear', and need to be applied well in advance so that they are available when the microbes needs them. Some other foods are like depositing cash into your account; the're available immediately!

Compost may help you during those times when your turf looks 'starved' for nitrogen. By no means do I have any direct experience with Bermuda grass, but all the basic principals are going to be the same. There are surely others that have experience with this than me.

Sorry for my rant. ~ ~ ~

Smallaxe
10-31-2008, 09:35 AM
...Applying good compost is like opening up a bank account for your plants...you are depositing biology which is stored and withdrawn when it's needed. Plants release exudates which encourage the growth of fungi and bacteria. The next trophic level consumes (eats) the organisms which were grown as a result of the plants specific exudate. The plant receives it's nutrients in the soluble form when the organism is digested by the higher trophic level, weather it's a protozoa, nematode or other micro arthropod...

These exudates change continuously, based upon moisture, tempurature, stress factors (like scalping) and MANY other factors... ~ ~ ~

This is very simply stated and understandable. Good paragraph. :)

My question is : Does anyone believe it isn't true?

Are you saying that - as life goes on in the soil, nutrients are released in large or lesser amounts depending on varying conditions?
My additional point is that - the plants are in the same 'timing' as the microbes. As the microbes slow down so does the plant. Different enzymes will be exuded, by the plant, to match the changing conditions of the weather/soil.

IMHO We tend to override these built-in precautions with soluable fertilizers.

Compostwerks LLC
10-31-2008, 09:53 AM
This is very simply stated and understandable. Good paragraph. :)

My question is : Does anyone believe it isn't true?

Are you saying that - as life goes on in the soil, nutrients are released in large or lesser amounts depending on varying conditions?
My additional point is that - the plants are in the same 'timing' as the microbes. As the microbes slow down so does the plant. Different enzymes will be exuded, by the plant, to match the changing conditions of the weather/soil.

IMHO We tend to override these built-in precautions with soluable fertilizers.

Well, I think that by and large most people have some level of understanding about soil biology. The problem is that most people automatically go for the 'product' approach....stuff in a bottle or bag. It's a quick fix for the most part.

About the nutrient cycling, yes, this is basically how it works, albiet greatly simplified.

You and I are speaking the same language about the soluble fertilizers. You are correct....not to mention the salt index.

Which brings us back to the ethread topic; 'Top Dressing'

DeepGreenLawn
10-31-2008, 01:18 PM
My additional point is that - the plants are in the same 'timing' as the microbes. As the microbes slow down so does the plant. Different enzymes will be exuded, by the plant, to match the changing conditions of the weather/soil.


If only the customers schedule matched the plants...

then comes the chems to make this happen...

Smallaxe
11-01-2008, 11:16 AM
If only the customers schedule matched the plants...

then comes the chems to make this happen...

What do you mean?

The plant is going dormant [up here] regardless. It is just a matter of whether it goes to bed with a healthy supper or a junk food supper.

Drought dormancy is the same thing. Only there you can actually kill plants with too much soluable N in dry conditions.

treegal1
11-02-2008, 01:37 AM
i depends on the furf the needs of the soil and the composition of the compost, having living compost is great and all and some composters thats about as far as the testing goes. but the mineral and nutrient aspects are just as important.

from 1/116 of an inch to 1/4 or more it all depends on the soil and or lawns needs.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-05-2008, 08:31 PM
1/8" to 1" some spots need less or more

treegal1
11-05-2008, 08:37 PM
I am starting to think that they really want to know how much is to much, well me, I have tried with 24 inches of compost,worked great, just never had to go back again.

also, nice grass man!!!!!!

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-05-2008, 08:38 PM
............cont..

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-05-2008, 08:46 PM
....................

DeepGreenLawn
11-05-2008, 08:59 PM
I take it you did compost and overseed? Do you have control over watering?

Fescue lawns are still a tuff one for me to figure out here... they are so hard to grow to begin with in our climate and then throw the lack of water... it just seems more and more impossible to keep a nice lawn...

Growing... do you make your own compost?

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-05-2008, 09:57 PM
cut short, aerate,topdress.powerseed, + amendments/fert

up here mid late sept is the best time to seed.....but we have had little rain. those lawns i posted have irrigation except the small one, owner watered only on weekends, the other two watered too much... they would have had better growth if they would have listen to me on how to water, i usually will not see a lawn after renovation till 3-4 weeks after sometimes so it's hard to manage every customers lawns irrigation perfectly, mother nature usually helps out during oct but like i said it's been dry, we just got a good rain yesterday night and today so it will help my other lawns that got seeded without irrigation

i buy my compost from a suppler, i have a about 10 yard pile going for my personal use.... when i get more property i have plans on some gourmet compost making for my customers, we'll see? need a tractor....

DeepGreenLawn
11-05-2008, 10:36 PM
I take it power seeding and slit seeding are the same thing?

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-05-2008, 11:55 PM
yes..........

DUSTYCEDAR
11-05-2008, 11:56 PM
nice shots i have to get my shots together

DeepGreenLawn
11-06-2008, 10:31 AM
that is why you always get better results... 90% of the lawns here would tear that up with the clay we have that is a lot of times more like concrete... I would only be able to use that on a very limited amount of properties... I have to use the aerator for over seeding and it doesn't do nearly as good a job...

Barefoot James
11-06-2008, 10:39 AM
Clay is a non issue for a Turf Revitilizer (sponser of this site). they have carbon steel tines and a 9 hp or 13 hp Suburu Robin engine that will slice and dice up clay and I have even cut concrete with mine (accident). When power seeding you only have to scratch the surface for good seed to soil (and a nice bed for the seed to sit in) and a light dusting of compost (1/16 to 1/4) and lots of water and tea. I have a 9 hp and in the past 2 years have done over 120 yards.

DeepGreenLawn
11-06-2008, 09:46 PM
I will have to look into that... it sounds like it will do much better than aeration and over seeding... not very good seed to soil contact... the watering is still an issue... compost is getting there, and CT is also on the list hopefully to somehow be checked off by next spring... a lot of things to do this winter that cost money which is something I don't have a lot of right now but hopefully next year we will bring in enough business to solve most of our problems...

DUSTYCEDAR
11-06-2008, 10:23 PM
I have a lawn solutions seeder 9hp and i love it

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-07-2008, 07:31 AM
that is a good seeder and is the same one i use too...only complaint is depending on soil grade and height of grass it does not trench deep enough.. it seems to work better in reverse but it's slow going that way.

i'll make a forward pass then make one in reverse on the same line then once the yard is done i make angle passes to those lines........sometime too over seed before and or after with the push spreader.

deep,
aerating then overseeding works but you need to cover whatever exposed seed some how, topsoil/compost/peat moss....

i find to if you over seed on bare exposed semi loose soil or topdress of some kind and then use your sprayer at high presser low to the ground you can incorparate the seed in the soil but it takes long time to do this... that approach is good for small touch up spots. i get fantastic germination spraying after seeding. take's more time though.....