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Smallaxe
02-25-2012, 09:51 AM
I've posted this article before, but we never really got this far into it...

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/lawnchallenge/lesson5.html
"Core aerification, followed by topdressing are two methods that will generally correct the reasons thatch is accumulating. Core aerifying machines will pull up small soil cores to the surface that are left there to act like topdressing. The holes created help solve problems such as compaction or poor drainage. Topdressing is simply adding a thin layer(1/8 to 1/4 inch) of compatible soil over the thatch, which adds microorganisms to help in breakdown."

This article doesn't talk about molasses/sugars to increase the activity of microorganisms that way, and certainly compost will do even more.

What would happen to the material that is broken down and would it benefit the soil in any way?

Is it cheaper and more beneficial than mechanical dethatching and removal of debris?

RigglePLC
02-25-2012, 10:13 AM
You are right to be a bit skeptical, Small. These ideas help to sell aerifying machines. There is already plenty of air in River City. So why don't they call them thatch machines?

My lawn has never been aerified. After 28 years it does not seem to harbor any more insects or disease than anywhere else.
"Topdressing...adds microorganisms to help in breakdown." Really...I have never thought my lawn was deficient in microorganisms.

Does anybody have any side by side comparisons of molasses and untreated control? Photos? Thatch depth measurements?

I am not starting a controversy--just stirring the pot.

Smallaxe
02-25-2012, 11:19 AM
You are right to be a bit skeptical, Small. These ideas help to sell aerifying machines. There is already plenty of air in River City. So why don't they call them thatch machines?

My lawn has never been aerified. After 28 years it does not seem to harbor any more insects or disease than anywhere else.
"Topdressing...adds microorganisms to help in breakdown." Really...I have never thought my lawn was deficient in microorganisms.

Does anybody have any side by side comparisons of molasses and untreated control? Photos? Thatch depth measurements?

I am not starting a controversy--just stirring the pot.

Side by side comparisons would be tough, because you'd have to stop the cultural practices, in order to accomplish anything... Just aeration or Just molasses/compost or doing both...

I don't grow living thatch either so it will be difficult to set up 3 plots in someone else's lawn. Soil and air temperatures w/adequate moisture, is going to be critical for these tests to work uniformly...

The key to the living thatch problem is that the suface roots are growing upward, into the mulch and stems, becuz there is always so much water and N there. Things of course die and tangle faster than they can be digested, hence the need for thatch machines.
Try to rip open the layer so water and NPK can go down, then the roots grow down after it, like they're supposed to.

Would using molasses, to quickly increase the populations of microbes, to quickly break down as much mulch as possible, when the conditions are right; work better than ripping into it with thatch machines??

White Gardens
02-25-2012, 11:30 AM
U of I has always steered away from organic practice recommendations for thatch control as there is no real data to support the claims of organic products to break down the thatch. We discussed this issue in the Master Gardners course.

There are other organic practices also that aren't mentioned due to liability reasons that U of I doesn't want to be responsible for.

Take for instance Milky Spore. It is now proven that it isn't as effective as once thought to control grubs in the lawn. Gluten as a pre-em is another one that might get put on the chopping block.

Now, you talk to some of the professors off the record and they might say differently.

As experience, I believe their recommendation to be good facts. The newer subdivisions in our area are stripped beyond any good layer of soil. Most lawns are set on-top of hard clay with little to no organic matter, including the lack of earth-worms in the lawn to help aerate the soil.

I also feel in these situations mechanical aeration is necessary to break the Cat-Ion exchange layer that inhibits the natural breakdown of thatch and also nutrient binding.

And to respond to Riggle, U of I also recommends aerating only in the Fall when it is the most beneficial, so to say their data is to promote mechanical means of compaction release and thatch control isn't necessarily true.

....

Smallaxe
02-25-2012, 12:01 PM
U of I has always steered away from organic practice recommendations for thatch control as there is no real data to support the claims of organic products to break down the thatch. We discussed this issue in the Master Gardners course. ....

I will also steer away from organic practice recommendations and likewise steer away from organic products...

For a heavy clay dirt as you describe in recent construction lawns, wouldn't it make more sense to till in sandy loams, or even compost alone, to break up CE sites?
Just becuz it results in mixing OM into the soil, doesn't make make sandy loam an organic product... does it?

Dirt doesn't become Soil, until there is enough OM in it, to overcome its mineral properties enough to, reasonably, grow something, IMO... :)

White Gardens
02-25-2012, 12:26 PM
I will also steer away from organic practice recommendations and likewise steer away from organic products...

For a heavy clay dirt as you describe in recent construction lawns, wouldn't it make more sense to till in sandy loams, or even compost alone, to break up CE sites?
Just becuz it results in mixing OM into the soil, doesn't make make sandy loam an organic product... does it?

Dirt doesn't become Soil, until there is enough OM in it, to overcome its mineral properties enough to, reasonably, grow something, IMO... :)

I think you are hitting on a good point. What is the true definition of organic products or organic practices.

Even in the MG course we discussed adding compost, loam and other products, but again I feel that U of I only "recommends" the minimum and in general, just basic soil fits the bill.

From what I remember, even the professors who taught each section of the course left each situation to interpretation. The main point being is that cultural practices should always be evaluated first, then the best course of action can be taken. Ultimately they were trying to do everything they could to stay away from mechanical and chemical means to treat the lawn and garden.

And just to add to my original post also about aerating. Aerations became popular in the late 70's and early 80's due to grub control applications that were killing of the earthworm population causing thatch problems. It's just unfortunate that it has become a "recommendation" by lots of commercial companies saying that it's a must in order to have a healthy lawn, when it's far from the truth.

....

Exact Rototilling
02-25-2012, 01:13 PM
Okay this got a bit long winded and there is some repeated points.

-------

Last season I started to use dry livestock molasses [$20 a bag] to help control my own “inherited” thatch layer of 3/4 of an inch. Did it do anything yet? Not sure but I will only be using it during warmer weather to get the maximum effect from it. Decomposition is always higher when temps are higher. In another thread I have picks of the dismal impact of my own Lawn Solutions aerator plus a Bluebird [even worse results] rental rolling tine aerator. The reciprocating Plugr due to the impact speed of the tines and the pop effect will successfully and consistently punch through the thatch layer and deliver the plug near the top of the grass blades. Advantage of this is the top dress effect. The rolling tine units in that instance simply lacked the pop effect and speed of reciprocating tines punching through a tight thatch layer.

I did at least 6-7 total aerations passes with my Plugr 850 on my lawn last year. To get the same effect [if a rolling tine unit could or can effectively punch through the thatch layer reliably] would have to be in the range of 11 – 12+ passes.

Late summer I did one of the aerations and mowed the next day side discharge with Oregon G6 gators and the dirt cloud was tremendous. Organic debris was truly liberated from the dirt thatch balls separated from the soil thanks to the High lift G6 gators. That was the first time I had ever mowed cores with the G6 blades. I only wish I had taken some pics and video of those thatch balls blowing around the property. The neighbor was standing there trying to figure out what the deal was. I actually broke my front window in the process since I wasn’t running the discharge deflector.

Fact. Aeration cures thatch where the plug is pulled if in fact the tines are able to punch and cut through the thatch layer. What happens here is rolling tines are often plugged with gravel and no core is produced. The Plugr style tines are better able to clear them selves due to the plunging speed and pop effect etc. Problem is a single rolling tine pass is dismal at best on a percentage of surface area.

When the thatch in the core/plug is liberated from the dirt an free to be broken down by exposure to the elements, mower and the wind neighbors yard....it can disappear or break down get cut up more by mower blades etc. A double pass of my Plugr 850 can only be exceeded in percentage of soil volume “if the plugs are equal in length” by “4” passes with a rolling tine machine.

Mowing over “more than a double pass from a Plugr 800” is truly a dreadful extremely dirty experience.

The dirt top dress effect from the plugs has to help thatch break down. Rolling tine aerators simply fail in plug count and the ability to pop plugs near the top of the grass in most instances.

From a practical standpoint running fresh sharp edges flail blades down into the true thatch layer will get rid of the thatch quickly but will result in a tremendous amount of debris and haul off.

Personally I rather offer a client a double Plugr pass 3 to 4 times a year than be stuck with a true flail blade de thatch. And give them a volume discount to keep the cost reasonable. Many claim to get 3X the mow rate for aeration. So I guess if a homeowner can find someone to flail blade all their thatch out for cheap that would be most cost effective.

Those front of the ZTR 3 rows of tines are less effective than the spinning Bluebird/Husky spring tine bar mounted on a power rake or seeder. That is NOT dethatching!

Buying bags of molasses @ $20 a bag...... I’m not sure if the molasses products are cost effective when compared to the benefit of reciprocating aeration with a Plugr or a Ryan 28.

All those Plugr passes from last season have dramatically faded the fairy ring in my lawn as well. Maybe it was in part due to 2 applications of molasses....?

White Gardens
02-25-2012, 01:20 PM
Exact,

Instead of mowing the plugs you could also consider using a power rake at a shallow dept in order to bust up the plugs without the mess of just power raking, or just mowing the plugs.

....

Exact Rototilling
02-25-2012, 01:31 PM
Exact,

Instead of mowing the plugs you could also consider using a power rake at a shallow dept in order to bust up the plugs without the mess of just power raking, or just mowing the plugs.

....

I've spring tine raked plugs as well but you're pretty much standings over the dirt cloud continuously with little escape. At least with side discharge there is some escaping the debris. Next time I plan to try the G6 gators but with the mulch plate installed and reduced rpm on first pass.
Posted via Mobile Device

Exact Rototilling
02-26-2012, 10:23 PM
I think you are hitting on a good point. What is the true definition of organic products or organic practices.

Even in the MG course we discussed adding compost, loam and other products, but again I feel that U of I only "recommends" the minimum and in general, just basic soil fits the bill.

From what I remember, even the professors who taught each section of the course left each situation to interpretation. The main point being is that cultural practices should always be evaluated first, then the best course of action can be taken. Ultimately they were trying to do everything they could to stay away from mechanical and chemical means to treat the lawn and garden.

And just to add to my original post also about aerating. Aerations became popular in the late 70's and early 80's due to grub control applications that were killing of the earthworm population causing thatch problems. It's just unfortunate that it has become a "recommendation" by lots of commercial companies saying that it's a must in order to have a healthy lawn, when it's far from the truth.
....

It has been my premise that if a lawn has basically zero thatch and a very high night crawler population core aeration is of little or no benefit. Is this not correct? Case in point my dad’s lawn has no real thatch layer and is extremely high in night crawlers.

This also begs the question. My own lawn 3/4” [inherited] thatch layer has very very few active night crawlers....so how do I jump start a healthy population of night crawlers?

U of I has always steered away from organic practice recommendations for thatch control as there is no real data to support the claims of organic products to break down the thatch. We discussed this issue in the Master Gardners course.

There are other organic practices also that aren't mentioned due to liability reasons that U of I doesn't want to be responsible for.

Take for instance Milky Spore. It is now proven that it isn't as effective as once thought to control grubs in the lawn. Gluten as a pre-em is another one that might get put on the chopping block.

Now, you talk to some of the professors off the record and they might say differently.

As experience, I believe their recommendation to be good facts. The newer subdivisions in our area are stripped beyond any good layer of soil. Most lawns are set on-top of hard clay with little to no organic matter, including the lack of earth-worms in the lawn to help aerate the soil.

I also feel in these situations mechanical aeration is necessary to break the Cat-Ion exchange layer that inhibits the natural breakdown of thatch and also nutrient binding.
And to respond to Riggle, U of I also recommends aerating only in the Fall when it is the most beneficial, so to say their data is to promote mechanical means of compaction release and thatch control isn't necessarily true.

....


Are there any online sources to explain the finer details of the Cat-Ion exchange layer? I’m assuming it is an abbreviated term...?

greendoctor
02-27-2012, 02:35 AM
I do not know why, but many of the lawns I maintain that did not have much earthworm activity when I started, now have earthworms. With the restrictions on carbaryl and thiophanate methyl in residential lawns now in place, there is nothing I can think of that would hurt earthworms. I use conventional 100% soluble fertilizers and biostimulant supplements in addition to but not instead of the NPK.

Here, thatch in warm season grasses is a sign that the lawn is not cut at the correct height of cut and it is starved. A starved lawn creates material that is nitrogen poor and resistant to breaking down naturally. A starved lawn also grows and dies on top of itself, making a mat of dead stems and roots that resist decomposition because of a lack of nitrogen. I have attended many cases where lawns that had "thatch" self corrected after being mowed at the correct height and fertilized for optimum growth.

Exact Rototilling: please be very careful of applying molasses. I have created severe nitrogen deficiencies with molasses. Looking at its composition, the C:N ratio is scary. I could imagine applying high rates if I ever needed to counteract excessive nitrogen. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=86766 I have tried high rates of liquid molasses, as in 1 pint of Brer Rabbit per 1000 sq ft. Never again. The grass really did not like it. I am sticking to increasing the N content of the grass. Might try 3 oz per 1000 and only in combination with fertilizers.

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 07:39 AM
I think you are hitting on a good point. What is the true definition of organic products or organic practices.

Even in the MG course we discussed adding compost, loam and other products, but again I feel that U of I only "recommends" the minimum and in general, just basic soil fits the bill.

From what I remember, even the professors who taught each section of the course left each situation to interpretation. The main point being is that cultural practices should always be evaluated first, then the best course of action can be taken. Ultimately they were trying to do everything they could to stay away from mechanical and chemical means to treat the lawn and garden.

And just to add to my original post also about aerating. Aerations became popular in the late 70's and early 80's due to grub control applications that were killing of the earthworm population causing thatch problems. It's just unfortunate that it has become a "recommendation" by lots of commercial companies saying that it's a must in order to have a healthy lawn, when it's far from the truth.

....

One of the most 'telling' issues with thatch, is whether or not water, perks well, and the surface will drain and dry quickly, while the rootzone stays moist for an extended period of time...

I agree with your MG people , as far as cultural practices be evaluated, and doing all they could to avoid mechanical/chemical means of a cure.
What was their concept of building soil structure???

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 08:12 AM
... Last season I started to use dry livestock molasses [$20 a bag] to help control my own “inherited” thatch layer of 3/4 of an inch. Did it do anything yet? Not sure but I will only be using it during warmer weather to get the maximum effect from it. Decomposition is always higher when temps are higher. ....

Decomp is happening to some extent, in most temperature ranges, until the ground freezes... Correct water/air mixture is also very important... water/air balance in the thatch layer as well as the rootzone determines your turf's ability to gather food, from the soil for correct growth...
'Living thatch' lawns get most of the N/water right from the surface...

... I did at least 6-7 total aerations passes with my Plugr 850 on my lawn last year. To get the same effect [if a rolling tine unit could or can effectively punch through the thatch layer reliably] would have to be in the range of 11 – 12+ passes. ....

Roller tines are good for planting seed, but aerating soil is an entirely different concept... in fact, the tines are shown to compact the soil around the perimeters of the holes...

... Late summer I did one of the aerations and mowed the next day side discharge with Oregon G6 gators and the dirt cloud was tremendous. Organic debris was truly liberated from the dirt thatch balls separated from the soil thanks to the High lift G6 gators. ....?

The plugs are not necessarily going to be a problem, if allowed to decomp naturally... plug when the ground is relatively dry then turn on the irrigation after you're done, and stay off the lawn with heavy tires for 10 days anyways...


... Fact. Aeration cures thatch where the plug is pulled if in fact the tines are able to punch and cut through the thatch layer. ....

Fact is: plug aeration only cures the symptoms, not the thatch, and not very well, at that... :)

... All those Plugr passes from last season have dramatically faded the fairy ring in my lawn as well. Maybe it was in part due to 2 applications of molasses ....

What are the root causes of fairy ring?? ...

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 08:32 AM
I do not know why, but many of the lawns I maintain that did not have much earthworm activity when I started, now have earthworms. With the restrictions on carbaryl and thiophanate methyl in residential lawns now in place, there is nothing I can think of that would hurt earthworms. I use conventional 100% soluble fertilizers and biostimulant supplements in addition to but not instead of the NPK.

Here, thatch in warm season grasses is a sign that the lawn is not cut at the correct height of cut and it is starved. A starved lawn creates material that is nitrogen poor and resistant to breaking down naturally. A starved lawn also grows and dies on top of itself, making a mat of dead stems and roots that resist decomposition because of a lack of nitrogen. I have attended many cases where lawns that had "thatch" self corrected after being mowed at the correct height and fertilized for optimum growth.

Exact Rototilling: please be very careful of applying molasses. I have created severe nitrogen deficiencies with molasses. Looking at its composition, the C:N ratio is scary. I could imagine applying high rates if I ever needed to counteract excessive nitrogen. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=86766 I have tried high rates of liquid molasses, as in 1 pint of Brer Rabbit per 1000 sq ft. Never again. The grass really did not like it. I am sticking to increasing the N content of the grass. Might try 3 oz per 1000 and only in combination with fertilizers.

I agree that a bunch of liquid sugars such as molasses will work quickly and tie up N for a period of time, depending on the courseness of the material being digested...
That is only one side of the equation...

As decomp proceeds through its lifecycle, at some point the decayed plant matter will be returning more nutrients, than are being 'tied up' by the decaying process... This recycling of nutrient process is what builds soil and provides nutrients for young plants in the natural world... We have never come up with a better system, because we've created more problems with every step...

Dry molasses spread thinly does the work necessary... no need to go crazy with the liquid stuff and try to digest it all at once...

... Here, thatch in warm season grasses is a sign that the lawn is not cut at the correct height of cut and it is starved. A starved lawn creates material that is nitrogen poor and resistant to breaking down naturally. A starved lawn also grows and dies on top of itself, making a mat of dead stems and roots that resist decomposition because of a lack of nitrogen. I have attended many cases where lawns that had "thatch" self corrected after being mowed at the correct height and fertilized for optimum growth. ...


Grasses in Wisco, do a lot worse when cut short and when too much N is applied... In fact, is is most of our recipe for producing living thatch... :)

White Gardens
02-27-2012, 10:06 AM
I agree with your MG people , as far as cultural practices be evaluated, and doing all they could to avoid mechanical/chemical means of a cure.
What was their concept of building soil structure???

We talked about composts, peat moss, and other soil amending methods along with do a basic soil structure test with you hands to determine the amount of clay in the soil.

In regards to lawns, they focused more on when creating a lawn to till and amend as necessary before sod or seeding. As for existing lawns, again it was just basic as what you read in the Extension article you originally posted excerpts from. In the class we talked about other topdressing methods including using ISU compost that we can get here locally.

Again, in regards to aerating and topdressing, the article is basic and each situation should be evaluated individually.

And from my personal experience. Thatch is a problem that might need a long term plan to correct, especially in situations of new construction. In my theory, one of the most beneficial things you can do is go to you local bait shop and buy worms to help "seed" the lawn with earthworms in order to help get the natural processes going, along with aeration and the natural trapping of dirt over a loooooong time that a lawn will naturally do in building the sod and soil structure.

......

.....

greendoctor
02-27-2012, 12:56 PM
I agree that a bunch of liquid sugars such as molasses will work quickly and tie up N for a period of time, depending on the courseness of the material being digested...
That is only one side of the equation...

As decomp proceeds through its lifecycle, at some point the decayed plant matter will be returning more nutrients, than are being 'tied up' by the decaying process... This recycling of nutrient process is what builds soil and provides nutrients for young plants in the natural world... We have never come up with a better system, because we've created more problems with every step...

Dry molasses spread thinly does the work necessary... no need to go crazy with the liquid stuff and try to digest it all at once...




Grasses in Wisco, do a lot worse when cut short and when too much N is applied... In fact, is is most of our recipe for producing living thatch... :)

Agreed. The two odd ducks in my area are centipede and st augustine grass in that they develop severe problems if they are cut too short. When referring to the short growing season you have and the times that the grass is actually growing during the year, it is understandable that the needs are less. People moving here from the continent are shocked by what needs to be done to grass. Rotary mowers and a twice a year fertilization do not work.

*dim*
02-27-2012, 01:39 PM
I'm still learning about organics and hydoponics

the guys who really understand soil and hydroponics are the guys who grow cannabis ....

read their forums and you will learn much

from what I understand, molasses on it's own is not as good as brewing a compost tea using molasses and something like worm humus (vermicast), as you then breed the organisms that break down the thatch .... add some stuff like humic acid, seaweed extract, fish extract and you have a pretty powerfull good fertilizer?

the compost tea has to be used within an hour of switching off the airpumps ..... thats why you cannot buy it at your garden centre ....

easy to make and very cheap ...

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 07:25 PM
We talked about composts, peat moss, and other soil amending methods along with do a basic soil structure test with you hands to determine the amount of clay in the soil.

In regards to lawns, they focused more on when creating a lawn to till and amend as necessary before sod or seeding. As for existing lawns, again it was just basic as what you read in the Extension article you originally posted excerpts from. In the class we talked about other topdressing methods including using ISU compost that we can get here locally.

Again, in regards to aerating and topdressing, the article is basic and each situation should be evaluated individually.

And from my personal experience. Thatch is a problem that might need a long term plan to correct, especially in situations of new construction. In my theory, one of the most beneficial things you can do is go to you local bait shop and buy worms to help "seed" the lawn with earthworms in order to help get the natural processes going, along with aeration and the natural trapping of dirt over a loooooong time that a lawn will naturally do in building the sod and soil structure.

......

.....

'Texture', relates to whether you feel clay or sand with your fingers... 'Structure', relates to how the aggregates of a particular 'texture' are put together...
Actually, I should say that the main difference between dirt and soil, would be that 'aggregates' have formed, regardless of the texture...

I agree, it is much better to amend and loosen the soil before seeding or sodding... after that , with proper cultural practices, it will never need aeration... I'm guessing that , that was there conclusion...

I've often thought about worms myself, but never put any on someone else's property... I think that worms hang out where there is the best food... There may be abundant worms in the flower beds, but very few on the lawn... many of my 'vacuumed' lawns really don't have enough food to support very many worms...

Worm castings and the tunnels they make are probably the hieght of rootzone 'soil structure'... Worms are the King of Aggregates, IMO... :)

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 07:44 PM
Agreed. The two odd ducks in my area are centipede and st augustine grass in that they develop severe problems if they are cut too short. When referring to the short growing season you have and the times that the grass is actually growing during the year, it is understandable that the needs are less. People moving here from the continent are shocked by what needs to be done to grass. Rotary mowers and a twice a year fertilization do not work.

Do you typically recycle the grass clippings, or does everyone want to bag?

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 07:57 PM
... from what I understand, molasses on it's own is not as good as brewing a compost tea using molasses and something like worm humus (vermicast), as you then breed the organisms that break down the thatch .... add some stuff like humic acid, seaweed extract, fish extract and you have a pretty powerfull good fertilizer? ...

That is very likely true... simple molasses doesn't really compare to compost tea... especially if you have a lot of high energy bug that can break down complex carbs applied when there's proper moisture and living conditions...

I don't know it, but I imagine people apply CT when the current environment is not favorable... then they believe that it doesn't work at all...
That is why I suggest molasses only, becuz it pretty foolproof when applied dry... :)

RigglePLC
02-27-2012, 09:45 PM
Has anybody tried any of the natural liquid dethatcher products? Or the DIY mixture for dethatching?
If so what were the results? Is anybody willing to try it on half of their lawn this year?
for example:
http://www.cleanairgardening.com/liquid-dethatcher.html

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 10:34 PM
Has anybody tried any of the natural liquid dethatcher products? Or the DIY mixture for dethatching?
If so what were the results? Is anybody willing to try it on half of their lawn this year?
for example:
http://www.cleanairgardening.com/liquid-dethatcher.html

Straight CT would likely do better than a commercial product, IMO... but then again, one must be careful with the handling of living creatures... Spraying them onto a hot, dry sunny lawn would probably be as effective as spraying pulverized sand on a hot, dry, sunny lawn... :)

The biggest farce with these 'products', is that they never bother to educate the consumer as to what sort of environment these microbes should go into... What good does it do if they all die as soon as the hit the ground... :confused:

White Gardens
02-27-2012, 11:46 PM
Worm castings and the tunnels they make are probably the hieght of rootzone 'soil structure'... Worms are the King of Aggregates, IMO... :)

I'm always amazed at what those suckers can do. Even in some of the worst soil you still find random runs of worm holes.

In a really old lawn last fall, I dug a 4 foot hole for the root ball of a tree I planted. There was some night crawler holes about the size of my finger that looked like they went way past where I finished the hole. Pretty amazing.

Leaves and any recycled paper seems to be the food of choice. I always mulch as much material back into the lawn when I can.

.....

Exact Rototilling
02-28-2012, 12:37 AM
Fact is: plug aeration only cures the symptoms, not the thatch, and not very well, at that... :)


Well... not sure if I made the point correctly or my premise is flat out wrong...? But when I core aerate with a reciprocating Plugr aerator the tine cuts and pop a plug to the surface effectively ventilating the thatch barrier. A second pass would with a Plugr 800 or Ryan 28 can only be matched or exceeded on doing at least 4 passing with a rolling tine unit. The only point I’m making is the majority of rolling tine units just lack a decent plug count in a single pass and unless the machine has much weight on it may fails to effectively punch through a tough thatch layer. The thatch layer here on my lawn is tough and dense. When the snow melts I’ll have to hit it again and take up close picks of the plugs in macro mode. Need them for my website anyhow.

What are the root causes of fairy ring?? ... Great question ...decomposing woody material in the soil below? Been trying to figure this out for some time. My neighbors lawn is infested with them and he dug down with his back hoe and the fairy ring goo goes deep. The Purdue recommendation is mask it with fertilizer and/or live with it or maybe dig it out if you have the $

So can night crawlers cut through a thick nasty living thatch layer? Does core aeration help them burrow to the surface by pluging a hole for them?

I’m thinking what one wants in their lawn is north American night crawlers correct? Not sure if the bait shops have the correct variety.

I have though of using aggressive methods of harvesting buckets full of night crawlers form my dad’s lawn and transporting them to my lawn. Method requires no pets or other person on the lawn and is frowned upon by many.

Exact Rototilling
02-28-2012, 12:44 AM
Has anybody tried any of the natural liquid dethatcher products? Or the DIY mixture for dethatching?
If so what were the results? Is anybody willing to try it on half of their lawn this year?
for example:
http://www.cleanairgardening.com/liquid-dethatcher.html


There was a post from a few years back where someone was claiming the product they used digested 1/4'” of thatch every month or so. Seemed a bit exaggerated.....? Don’t remember the product name.

greendoctor
02-28-2012, 03:15 AM
Do you typically recycle the grass clippings, or does everyone want to bag?

Everyone wants to bag. However on lawns I maintain, no bagging unless the grass has gotten so thick it will leave excessive material on the surface. The lawns that are reel cut really do not need bagging unless it goes too long between cuts. The high cut grasses, st augustine and centipede do not need bagging either. I prefer not to bag because it improves the condition of the soil underneath and I can cut rates of fertilization by at least 25%. Lawns that are bagged or basketed, in the case of reel mowers will need 1 lb of N per month every month.

Exact Rototilling
02-28-2012, 03:39 AM
Green doctor,

You mention go easy on the.molasses. I'm going to do a test plot in the part back yard of heavy molasses applications. I need to see what happens.

Once the snow.goes away I'm NOT going to bag the low mowing this time. Going to just mow down to 1.75" maybe 1.5" with my G6 gators on.a.dry day and just let.the dry stuff sit there. Might make another pass the other direction. Core aerate again, maybe a double pass, then another plug break up mow.mix all in together

So many on lawnsite are against bagging clippings except when there is $ to be made.in the spring.in.northern climates to fulfill the client itch to make the dormant.grass.disappear then they bag all the dormant grass. Many time I see late power rakings and.there are.thease.huge.piles of ground up green bludgeoned clippings being raked.onto tarps....? It has already been 3 weeks past.the dormant dry stage.....?

I used to do the same.thing years ago. Get out there.with.a hand rake and.scrub.that.stuff.out by hand. Of course when I was to busy to do it one.year it greened up.just fine with out all that work.

So am I all wet on not bagging a.low mowing and.let.the dry clippings sit?
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greendoctor
02-28-2012, 04:06 AM
If the purpose of the low cut is to remove dry debris that is not going to decompose anyway, pick it up. Here, a common renovation procedure for zoysia and bermuda is to cut it down to the ground and pick up everything. This normally is done in the late spring months. On grasses that are much more open such as the cool season grasses, I cannot think of a need to do harsh procedures such as this unless the lawn was in fact excessively fertilized and allowed to accumulate too much dry material. Another procedure common here is deep verticutting with blades going into the soil more than 1/2" deep. This cuts grooves into the soil and cuts stolons, forcing new growth. The soil kicked up in this manner becomes a dirt topdressing for the lawn that enhances decomposition of thatch.

For many years, I tried hand raking my bermuda lawn at home. Hardly made a dent. One deep verticutting after scalp cutting accomplished more than raking. The lawn looked like I tilled it under after I was done, but it is growing back better than ever.

Smallaxe
02-28-2012, 09:45 AM
If the purpose of the low cut is to remove dry debris that is not going to decompose anyway, pick it up. Here, a common renovation procedure for zoysia and bermuda is to cut it down to the ground and pick up everything. This normally is done in the late spring months. On grasses that are much more open such as the cool season grasses, I cannot think of a need to do harsh procedures such as this unless the lawn was in fact excessively fertilized and allowed to accumulate too much dry material. Another procedure common here is deep verticutting with blades going into the soil more than 1/2" deep. This cuts grooves into the soil and cuts stolons, forcing new growth. The soil kicked up in this manner becomes a dirt topdressing for the lawn that enhances decomposition of thatch.

For many years, I tried hand raking my bermuda lawn at home. Hardly made a dent. One deep verticutting after scalp cutting accomplished more than raking. The lawn looked like I tilled it under after I was done, but it is growing back better than ever.

From what I understand about Bermuda, the verticutter makes perfect sense, as you describe it... When they used it on fescue or even KBG up here it causes a 'setback' in the active Spring growth... They quit it for the most part, but the stiff dethatching tines in the soft soil, does the same thing, for the most part...

IMO, the reason why so many foolish things are done on lawns at the worse possible times is because the thing that work in the South do not work in the North, yet we are told that they work, so we believe the 'experts' rather than our eyes...
Thanks for the info...

White Gardens
02-28-2012, 12:11 PM
So can night crawlers cut through a thick nasty living thatch layer? Does core aeration help them burrow to the surface by pluging a hole for them?

I’m thinking what one wants in their lawn is north American night crawlers correct? Not sure if the bait shops have the correct variety.

I have though of using aggressive methods of harvesting buckets full of night crawlers form my dad’s lawn and transporting them to my lawn. Method requires no pets or other person on the lawn and is frowned upon by many.
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