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OrganicsMaine
05-12-2011, 07:32 PM
Hi everyone,

So I picked up a lawn that was being treated synthetically by a not so good company, and on top of that, it was being watered every day for 10 minutes/day last year. Mowed 2-2.5" all season as well.

So, the result is 2"+ of thatch and a struggling lawn.

Now for the remedy....

Aerated, triple. Dethatched....the best that I could. Over seeded the areas that were completely dead and topdressed w/compost.

I am going to aerate again in June....I know, not the typical approach, but I want to keep breaking this thatch up. If there wasn't irrigation, I wouldn't be doing it in June. As far as fert, I used a 19-19-19...yes, synthetic....at the .5 rate, and will do so again in June after I aerate again. I may try a bit of ICT in mid July to keep the process going. September will be another aeration, and over seeding. I am also going to try and sell them on a full topdressing then as well.

Oh yeah, the soil test.....pH was a bit low, 5.8, so I limed it with a dolomitic lime...the mg was low. SOM was about 5.2% so a little low for my likings. Will have them mulch mowing all summer to help a bit with that. Once I get this thing going, I will be switching to NP, but possibly not until next year.

So, have at it, let me know what you all think.

XLS
05-12-2011, 07:55 PM
Dont you lime when the acid is HIGH????? i dont do lime so i am going off what i think i heard .

OrganicsMaine
05-12-2011, 08:18 PM
XLS....a low pH means that the soil is acidic.

XLS
05-12-2011, 08:28 PM
ok thanks for that. my bad

Smallaxe
05-12-2011, 10:24 PM
Hi everyone,

So I picked up a lawn that was being treated synthetically by a not so good company, and on top of that, it was being watered every day for 10 minutes/day last year. Mowed 2-2.5" all season as well.

So, the result is 2"+ of thatch and a struggling lawn.

Now for the remedy....

Aerated, triple. Dethatched....the best that I could. Over seeded the areas that were completely dead and topdressed w/compost.

I am going to aerate again in June....I know, not the typical approach, but I want to keep breaking this thatch up. If there wasn't irrigation, I wouldn't be doing it in June. As far as fert, I used a 19-19-19...yes, synthetic....at the .5 rate, and will do so again in June after I aerate again. I may try a bit of ICT in mid July to keep the process going. September will be another aeration, and over seeding. I am also going to try and sell them on a full topdressing then as well. ...

So, have at it, let me know what you all think.

What are you thinking??? Triple 19 already??? How often have you mowed?? We still have lawns that are only now waking up...
You do know what causes thatch, correct?

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/lawnchallenge/lesson5.html

And Phosphorus... why P??

OrganicsMaine
05-13-2011, 04:28 AM
This lawn will be mowed for the second time this weekend. The whole thing was seeded with a number of areas that were completely bare. Also, it was heavily aerated and verti-cut, and with all of those roots tied up in the thatch, it could use the help. The bulk of the reason for the thatch, I believe, was the watering schedule and the mowing. Also, I put it down at the half rate, so not a heavy hit of N.

What are your thoughts of the aeration next month?

mdlwn1
05-13-2011, 06:47 AM
Post the soil sample if you can. There are older varieties of KBG that are extremely thatchy...so I'm kinda curious how this all works out...even though you are doing too much to really know what the main culprit is.

OrganicsMaine
05-13-2011, 06:51 AM
Soil Test:

pH: 5.6
P: 54
K: 102
Ca: 783
Mg: 86

CEC: 11.6
OM: 5.4%

What do you mean that I am doing too much to know what the main culprit is?

mdlwn1
05-13-2011, 07:02 AM
I just mean that you are doing everything at once..which is good for the customer and likely the way your business should handle it, but will be not so easy to determine which treatment had the most effect to reduce thatch. I don't think I've ever seen bad thatch that was the direct result of mowing technique....and I've delt with thousands of lawns.

ICT Bill
05-13-2011, 08:33 AM
MDLWN brings up a good point about the variety of, and I assume it is KBG, KBG

I think I would have used the NP before the chem fert

you really have no choice to do what you did, you have to get all of the thatch out of there to begin with, what you need now is worm and microbe food. The soil is going to be pretty dead from being covered for so long. think soil food instead of plant food, molasses, kelp, humate. I would start with molasses and move to humate later in the season, you have to get the bacteria going first before the fungi can start to grow

I agree with changing the watering schedule, probably one of the best changes at the site

Smallaxe
05-13-2011, 08:46 AM
... The bulk of the reason for the thatch, I believe, was the watering schedule and the mowing. ...

Indeed, too much water compacts the soils, removing the air, causing puddling and leaving the best growing environment above the soil... That makes sense...

How does mowing affect the thatch layer? Are you talking about brown mulch of dead grass clippings, rather than actual thatch?... :)

OrganicsMaine
05-13-2011, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. MD, I don't think that it is really the mowing, that is just a contributing factor. My thinking is the worst part of it is the previous watering schedule and possibly fert. program.

Bill, so should I just do an application of molasses? What rate do you think. Never done this before, so any help would be great.

ICT Bill
05-13-2011, 04:10 PM
Thanks for the replies guys. MD, I don't think that it is really the mowing, that is just a contributing factor. My thinking is the worst part of it is the previous watering schedule and possibly fert. program.

Bill, so should I just do an application of molasses? What rate do you think. Never done this before, so any help would be great.

we have guys in WI and MI that do this a lot (old varieties of KBG), they double the normal rate of our tea, so one carton will treat 1 acre and then add 2 ounces (dry or wet) of molasses per gallon apply at 2 gallon per 1000 sq ft. The best time to apply is when it is raining or about to rain, not a downpour but rain

you will need to watch the site as the temps rise for fungal disease outbreak, you have just fed the herd really well, if there is currently fungal disease on the property you have fed it too

in 3 to 4 weeks you will start to see the ground again

OrganicsMaine
05-13-2011, 05:57 PM
Indeed, too much water compacts the soils, removing the air, causing puddling and leaving the best growing environment above the soil... That makes sense...

How does mowing affect the thatch layer? Are you talking about brown mulch of dead grass clippings, rather than actual thatch?... :)

Sorry I missed this post earlier....

What I am talking about is a thick layer of dead roots/stems through which the aerator could barely penetrate. This is definitely thatch and not a slight build up of the grass blades, for sure. As I said in my other post, the mowing, at 2-2.5" hasn't been the main issue, but would be a contributing factor to the issues at hand. If nothing else, by them mowing so short, the roots, which are intertwined in the thatch layer, dry out quicker, causing the grass to stress, causing the customer to make sure he waters every day, maybe even twice a day. Then, when he calls his fert. company, who apparently had no clue either, they come out and hit it with fert and push more growth, which causes more stress, more watering.....etc, etc!

But, alas, the crazy organic guy has arrived and will fix the problem....as long as the customer listens to me, which I believe he will.

Smallaxe
05-13-2011, 07:55 PM
Sorry I missed this post earlier....

What I am talking about is a thick layer of dead roots/stems through which the aerator could barely penetrate. This is definitely thatch and not a slight build up of the grass blades, for sure. As I said in my other post, the mowing, at 2-2.5" hasn't been the main issue, but would be a contributing factor to the issues at hand. If nothing else, by them mowing so short, the roots, which are intertwined in the thatch layer, dry out quicker, causing the grass to stress, causing the customer to make sure he waters every day, maybe even twice a day. Then, when he calls his fert. company, who apparently had no clue either, they come out and hit it with fert and push more growth, which causes more stress, more watering.....etc, etc!

But, alas, the crazy organic guy has arrived and will fix the problem....as long as the customer listens to me, which I believe he will.

Good deal... I figured you were more than capable, I was just surprised at the fert and mowing comments... good luck... :)

OrganicsMaine
05-13-2011, 08:22 PM
Thanks Axe, I usually know what the problems are, its the organic remedies that I am still working on!

JDUtah
05-14-2011, 12:10 AM
I would have power raked before aerating.

As far as aerating in June, go for it! I have saved several lawns with compaction problems by aerating mid summer...

That post you put down should help soften the soil so the next aerating should be more effective.

mdlwn1
05-14-2011, 06:39 AM
The guys that have aerated in June. Crabgrass?

ICT Bill
05-14-2011, 12:28 PM
The guys that have aerated in June. Crabgrass?

good point especially if you are not using pre or post herbicides, i would think it would invite the CG to go to town and be everywhere

dgw
05-14-2011, 12:41 PM
good point especially if you are not using pre or post herbicides, i would think it would invite the CG to go to town and be everywhere

yep , even if you used a pre em , the aerating breaks the barrier

OrganicsMaine
05-14-2011, 01:05 PM
For me, I'm not worried about the CG at this point anyway. This thatch, to me, is at a critical level to where the lawn is just going to thin out more and more until it is done.

I'll seed again in the fall once all of this thatch is gone, and deal with CG in next spring.

JDUtah
05-14-2011, 10:46 PM
yeah i wouldn't worry too much about the cg. Isn't organic lawn care about getting away from chemicals?... ie remove the thatch and grow thick grass that can discourage cg germination on its own.

Marcos
05-17-2011, 01:28 AM
Soil Test:

pH: 5.6
P: 54
K: 102
Ca: 783
Mg: 86

CEC: 11.6
OM: 5.4%

What do you mean that I am doing too much to know what the main culprit is?

If this were my client, I'd aerate this yard very very thoroughly. In fact, with thatch as bad as this I'd no doubt go over it multiple times.

I'd then find a local source of a dump truck load or 2 of cheap (preferably, free :)) clean wood ash. I would then wait for a calm morning or evening to hand-spread this ash around this lawn quite liberally.

To keep ash dust from blowing up, I'd very lightly hose this wood ash into the soil with a sprayer using water, and dark molasses at about a gallon/acre rate.