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View Full Version : What to expect in the transition....


Pristine1
02-13-2009, 11:40 AM
Ok, hypothetical situation:

New customer, sick of the old chemical ways, no tolerance for weeds etc....typical customer!

Since I really haven't changed anybody over yet, #1, what should I expect to run into on a lawn like this. The turf is in good shape (at the surface), low OM and little to no activity PH is fine. Pretty much being artificially sustained by synthetics. There is irrigation which I will monitor.

My first action is soil test, aerate, compost. I'm thinking that I'll need to give it a shot of fert....to help get it through detoxification, so what could I expect to see.

Oh yeah, typical cool season lawn....average sun, heavy on the bluegrass.

ICT Bill
02-13-2009, 11:55 AM
Often on sites that have been on a fertilization program for years, the NPK will carry over for a year in the soil. You may have to add some, but only at 25% of ther labeled rate
The biggest thing to consider is how much soil organic matter is there and begin the building process, 2% is absolute minimum and we like to see it at 5% to 7%
aeration
over seeding
compost tea
top dress with compost
in that order, it is rare that we are able to spray teas INTO the soil, so spray while the cores are still open and also on the seed. if you get some mycorrhizae in the mix as well, long term you will have some vey nice sites

Almost every landscaper that has given up NPK that I see carries some amount of compost and a bag of seed in their truck every day. bare spot BAM....pull a weed.......BAM

Pristine1
02-13-2009, 12:25 PM
ICT Bill a.k.a. lawn emeril! My thoughts were that I would aerate, overseed, and topdress all in one shot. should I then spray the tea, or wait until the turf starts to germinate and hit it then? Also, should there be a starter fert....up here I've been using 19-19-19 both for hydro and slit seeding.

So this will get things going, but during this transition time, will the lawn get a little weak before it gets better, or will the overseeding take care of that?

Good idea for the compost and seed. One could even pre-mix these so in one shot, everything is down. (Small amounts obviously!)

ICT Bill
02-13-2009, 12:35 PM
ICT Bill a.k.a. lawn emeril! My thoughts were that I would aerate, overseed, and topdress all in one shot. should I then spray the tea, or wait until the turf starts to germinate and hit it then? Also, should there be a starter fert....up here I've been using 19-19-19 both for hydro and slit seeding.

So this will get things going, but during this transition time, will the lawn get a little weak before it gets better, or will the overseeding take care of that?

Good idea for the compost and seed. One could even pre-mix these so in one shot, everything is down. (Small amounts obviously!)

The seed will germinate pretty quick if left in a compost mix very long, high water percentage in compost so they are normally kept seperate

i like to see compost tea applied on the seed and with open cores, before the top dress is applied. try it sometime you will be amazed how quickly it germinates and how quickly it gets established. do a side by side

I cannot speak to other practices but in our experience you can cut your starter fertilizer by 50 to 75% if using an inoculum product with your seed. Our hydroseed product will get the germination rates way up and help with the long term health of the turf. The plant needs a little push after the seedling stage and before it can get established in the soil, at leat that is our experience with hydroseeding

hey cutting fertilizer costs/application rates is a good thing all around

Kiril
02-13-2009, 12:41 PM
My thoughts were that I would aerate, overseed, and topdress all in one shot

This is all you need IMHO when dealing with class 1-3 soils. With a good bridge program you should not see any decline.

treegal1
02-13-2009, 12:46 PM
This is all you need IMHO when dealing with class 1-3 soils. With a good bridge program you should not see any decline.

yes thats just to start, no decline is the hot ticket. as bill pointed out most chem yards are easy nutrition wise to cross over, lots of locked up material. but the idea is to add and build the soil sort of like a bank account, yes there are expense's but try and put more than you spend in and after a while you have a saving going in your soil bank....

Pristine1
02-13-2009, 12:46 PM
Could you define a "good" bridge program. My background is not in lawn care as much as maintenance and design install, so while I have a good knowledge, I need to drill down and get the meat and potatoes.

Pristine1
02-13-2009, 12:48 PM
yes thats just to start, no decline is the hot ticket. as bill pointed out most chem yards are easy nutrition wise to cross over, lots of locked up material. but the idea is to add and build the soil sort of like a bank account, yes there are expense's but try and put more than you spend in and after a while you have a saving going in your soil bank....

Gotcha....so by getting the "herd" going, it will free up the leftover nutrients, and by composting annually, I will be adding more nutrients to be used? Followed, of course, by lots of CT!

Kiril
02-13-2009, 12:51 PM
Could you define a "good" bridge program. My background is not in lawn care as much as maintenance and design install, so while I have a good knowledge, I need to drill down and get the meat and potatoes.

Making use of what is already available in your soil while at the same time building up what is not. Do this until you have a balanced system that more or less sustains itself.

treegal1
02-13-2009, 12:55 PM
the ct has some stuff other than the "herd"

here is some compost #'s .......

Boron, Total mg/kg 26.9 27.3 25.8 25.0 33.2 25.3

Cadmium, Total mg/kg < 0.50 < 0.50 < 0.50 < 0.50 0.56 < 0.50

Calcium, Total mg/kg27036 17106 14388 16415 46912 20477

Chromium, Total mg/kg 4.8 4.1 4.4 4.5 6.7 5.8

Copper, Total mg/kg20.3 24.3 37.9 26.4 22.8 16.8

Iron, Total mg/kg2909 2481 2485 2663 3968 2480

Lead, Total mg/kg17.8 15.2 18.6 16.7 17.5 14.9

Magnesium, Total mg/kg2921 3171 2532 160 4220 2841

Manganese, Total mg/kg180 175 160 2.0 213 211

Mercury, Total mg/kg< 0.05 0.05 0.05 < 0.05 0.06 0.07

Molybdenum, Total mg/kg1.0 1.2 1.4 2.0 1.8 < 1.0

Nickel, Total mg/kg 5.4 4.6 5.0 4.6 7.5 4.8

Phosphorus, Total mg/kg2848 2944 2539 2782 4042 2652

Potassium, Total mg/kg12509 11565 10391 11063 13848 10496

Sodium, Total mg/kg482 835 349 461 801 526

Sulfur, Total mg/kg2179 2150 1906 2089 2680 1961

Zinc, Total mg/kg 86 96 95 97 118 79.7

Alkalinity, Total as CaCO3 mg/kg 24610 21200 22150 29340 29250 30210

Chloride mg/kg3083 3142 3048 3456 2659 3572

Conductivity mS/cm 0.01 Saturated Paste Extract 25.7 17.1 14.5 15.1 17.3 11.6

Nitrogen, Ammonia as N mg/kg1938 2401 1807 4228 779 620

Nitrogen, Ammonia + Organic as N mg/kg 49798 25238 25541 28694 22079 25620

Nitrogen, Nitrate as N mg/kg 459 483 1074 915 491 543

pH, Saturated Paste Extract 7.5 8.0 7.5 7.7 7.5 7.5

Carbon / Nitrogen Ration (C/N) CALCULATED 10.4 10.6 9.3 9.3 11.3 11.5

Solids, Total, % 49.42 48.03 46.38 47.54 65.36 53.40

treegal1
02-13-2009, 12:57 PM
step 1 test the soil, step 2 test the compost, step 3 find out whats missing, step $ add whats missing, but so far my compost is doing ok for me, yes I make my own........

Kiril
02-13-2009, 01:08 PM
what is with all the numbers ... different samples?

Pristine1
02-13-2009, 01:09 PM
I did forget to mention "test soil" in my original post. I will start another thread on soil testing and such, but I must say that I am very envious of you TG, you got it goin' on! Lots of work to do, but I'll get there too!

treegal1
02-13-2009, 01:11 PM
what is with all the numbers ... different samples?
yes 6 samples, am having some metals issue lately

Kiril
02-13-2009, 01:19 PM
yes 6 samples, am having some metals issue lately

Ya think .... numbers are not very consistent. Are we talking about the "same" compost, or different blends here?

treegal1
02-13-2009, 01:27 PM
thats different compost, six different blends over 14 months. I am still inside the epa specs. but the next load I am only going to use about 45 tons of bio solids instead of the usual 90 tons. and i am also going to blend it down next time with some pine bark fines and worm casts, about 45 tons of bark and 30 tons of casts.

oh also the tests are an average of 6 tests on each batch... or 9000$ in testing.......

Kiril
02-13-2009, 01:37 PM
oh also the tests are an average of 6 tests on each batch... or 9000$ in testing.......

Geez, at that cost why don't you spend the money on some lab equipment and do the testing in house?

treegal1
02-13-2009, 01:50 PM
has to be independent,:cry::cry:

I got some nice gear but, I came up over the exemption limits so............ needed some test......, I am not going to cry about it for long, just add up the 7000+ yards of compost I turned out and its just an operating cost........big one!!!! but just a cost.......

any ways I only have to do 2 tests 4 times now.......

ICT Bill
02-13-2009, 01:51 PM
Geez, at that cost why don't you spend the money on some lab equipment and do the testing in house?

State and fed regulators have to have the testing from a lab, disinterested third party kind of thing

tree definately stays busy, we were supposed to meet for dinner one day and finally got there around 10PM after all the chores were taken care of

treegal1
02-13-2009, 01:54 PM
I want that 84 yard so bad!!!!!! its 40% off now!!!!

Kiril
02-13-2009, 01:56 PM
State and fed regulators have to have the testing from a lab, disinterested third party kind of thing

Now that is a joke considering how most products on the market are tested. Is compost really a regulatory issue in FL?

treegal1
02-13-2009, 02:08 PM
grab a fist full of barbed wire and heat it up and jam it in your nose and that's how hard it is!!!!!! and pay to play is on the front door!!! and I am still all indoors with a power plant and juice factory near one side and the rail yard and steel mill, down the street, by the concrete plant. no run off no smells and its real fun!!!!!

Kiril
02-13-2009, 02:10 PM
grab a fist full of barbed wire and heat it up and jam it in your nose and that's how hard it is!!!!!! and pay to play is on the front door!!! and I am still all indoors with a power plant and juice factory near one side and the rail yard and steel mill, down the street, by the concrete plant. no run off no smells and its real fun!!!!!

I don't understand half the stuff you post. :laugh:

treegal1
02-13-2009, 02:17 PM
its almost to painful to try and under stand the laws here for composting, its all just pain!!!!

Kiril
02-13-2009, 02:25 PM
its almost to painful to try and under stand the laws here for composting, its all just pain!!!!

Just establish yourself as a major corp like Dow or Monsanto so you can do testing "in house". :laugh:

treegal1
02-13-2009, 02:31 PM
great more work and employee's, yeah i got some key people but after that you should see the baboon's I work with, ":cool2:can I get a felon up in the house:cool2:" and the other issues that follow, good help, yeah not in or from the US.............I pass out T shirts like britney spears......

ICT Bill
02-13-2009, 03:28 PM
Now that is a joke considering how most products on the market are tested. Is compost really a regulatory issue in FL?

Kiril,
Every state that I have seen says that soil amendments in bulk or bagged have to be tested and testing results have to be available

As a composter there are state and federal regulations that have to be followed as well. No thanks, I think my side is regulated heavy.

Our issue is having to deal with 48 seperate regulations and then some are county and city regulations. Florida has 15 cities and counties that do not allow fertilizer applications from June 1 to September 31, but the state does not have that law. JJJEEEZZZ

treegal1
02-13-2009, 03:33 PM
Florida has 15 cities and counties that do not allow fertilizer applications from June 1 to September 31, but the state does not have that law. JJJEEEZZZ and that's why compost is KING here, you can add compost at any time you like.......................


one city here said no fert within 500 feet of a storm drain.......

Smallaxe
02-13-2009, 05:07 PM
Ok, hypothetical situation: ...
My first action is soil test, aerate, compost. I'm thinking that I'll need to give it a shot of fert....to help get it through detoxification, so what could I expect to see.

Oh yeah, typical cool season lawn....average sun, heavy on the bluegrass.

When studying agricultural pastures/hay field maintenance it was noted that no fert is generally needed for the first crop.
In most normal soils Bill is correct in the notion of a lot of residual ferts from overwintering on lawns. IMHO.
Our local extension office suggests the most important time for fert is fall, 2nd most important late spring, but never, in early spring.

My thoughts about early spring fert is that - we are encouraging lateral growth of roots, as soon as they break dormancy. Some extension websites relate it to thatch which of course makes sense in that much of the thatch is made up of surface roots and stems. Both dead and alive.

Transitioning water is probably the most difficult.

bicmudpuppy
02-13-2009, 07:34 PM
When studying agricultural pastures/hay field maintenance it was noted that no fert is generally needed for the first crop.
In most normal soils Bill is correct in the notion of a lot of residual ferts from overwintering on lawns. IMHO.
Our local extension office suggests the most important time for fert is fall, 2nd most important late spring, but never, in early spring.

My thoughts about early spring fert is that - we are encouraging lateral growth of roots, as soon as they break dormancy. Some extension websites relate it to thatch which of course makes sense in that much of the thatch is made up of surface roots and stems. Both dead and alive.

Transitioning water is probably the most difficult.

Early spring (soil temps break 40, frost is gone) fertility is important if you are pushing for growth. Early fertilization helps with PREMATURE greenup, etc. It can be done, but it isn't natural. By natural, I'm not talking organic or synthetic (well, synthetic in another sense), but normal or as nature intended. My life, my job, my measure of success is intertwined in the promotion of early greenup and playability of my golf course. I think a weekly CT app is going to be very friendly with that concept. I don't think I can make the leap to organic only in one giant leap, or even in one or two years. Water soluble N is going to be very important until I get where I am envisioning being. (I think TG referred to it as crack for grass) If you go the route of early fertilization (might be an important part of getting/keeping business in the yuppy market) realize that the path is perilous. I get away with it (I hope anyway) because I am ON SITE. Every day in every way. I believe in working 1/2 days. I get grumpy when I am asked to work more than half days, but in the summer time it happens. I prefer, with automatic irrigation, and modern technology to work the daylight half. In the winter, the work day gets shorter. As the daylight half of the day maximizes in the summer and other problems encroach on "my half" of the day, I get........grumpy might be a good PC description.

Smallaxe
02-14-2009, 01:49 PM
Early spring (soil temps break 40, frost is gone) fertility is important if you are pushing for growth. Early fertilization helps with PREMATURE greenup, etc. It can be done, but it isn't natural. By natural, I'm not talking organic or synthetic (well, synthetic in another sense), but normal or as nature intended. My life, my job, my measure of success is intertwined in the promotion of early greenup and playability of my golf course. I think a weekly CT app is going to be very friendly with that concept. I don't think I can make the leap to organic only in one giant leap, or even in one or two years. Water soluble N is going to be very important until I get where I am envisioning being. (I think TG referred to it as crack for grass) If you go the route of early fertilization (might be an important part of getting/keeping business in the yuppy market) realize that the path is perilous. I get away with it (I hope anyway) because I am ON SITE. Every day in every way. I believe in working 1/2 days. I get grumpy when I am asked to work more than half days, but in the summer time it happens. I prefer, with automatic irrigation, and modern technology to work the daylight half. In the winter, the work day gets shorter. As the daylight half of the day maximizes in the summer and other problems encroach on "my half" of the day, I get........grumpy might be a good PC description.

For the quick greenup on golf courses, an early fert application helps. I imagine that, that makes sense. Good point.
I am always thinking in terms of growing deeper roots and working with natural processes. Your business has different priorities and it is good for me to know the difference.

I have a lawn that I blow-dry with a backpack blower on a warm day even b4 all the snow is gone. It does make for a quicker greenup, however the purpose is to remove any overwintering debris that may leave a dead spot it left on until the grass starts growing.
From that point on it is always cleaned up with a mower.
The woods I do with a Little Wonder. :)

I too, believe in half days...