View Full Version : Need help for CGM/fertilization program

12-22-2003, 01:35 AM
I currently aerate lawns in the Chicago area. Lawns are mostly Kentucky Bluegrass along with some Ryegrass and Fescues. Many of my customers use ChemLawn/Truegreen and they are not totally pleased with their service/prices. I do not want to become a licensed/insured pesticide applicator. So I need help in designing an application program. I like the idea of corn gluten meal for crabgrass and broadleaf weed protection applied in the spring (early April) 20lb/1000ft2. End of May, a commercial grade lawn food with a biostimulant (21-3-5) fertilizer which contains micronutrients. Beginning of fall, corn gluten meal 20lb/1000ft2. Fall, aerate and topdress with a compost/top soil mix-1/2 inch per year. Has anyone used CGM on lawns after typical chemical pesticides regiments? Was there a noticable increase/decrease in weed population, turf color, turf density, etc? I would like some feedback before I select a program.

12-22-2003, 07:08 AM
I'm not sure about Illinois, but I'm pretty sure that in Pennsylvania, the program you are proposing requires you to be certified. With the exception of fertilizer, soil or composts, anytime you apply products to a property other than your own, you must have certification.

12-22-2003, 08:59 AM
The CGM is exempt from Illinois regs.

12-22-2003, 12:08 PM
Well, its hard to give very many comments on your program with just the info you gave, but here are a few thoughts off of the top of my head.

* The biggest issue I see is that you are not applying enough potash. Corn Gluten is generally considered 10-0-0. So..... at 20#/1000 you are applying 2# of slow release nitrogen per thousand. (Most research I have done on CGM says you need 30#/m to have any effectiveness against crabgrass -- but I'm not an expert on this so I may be worng.) But there is no potash.

The summer app of 21-3-5, guessing .5 pound of N (?) would only give you .12# of potash per thousand.

I generally work to try and get atleast 1.5# of potash, assuming clippings are retuerned.
Do you need CGM in the fall again for weed control? Applying another dose of 2# of nitrogen, but no phos. or potash.

So your annual program is providing the lawn with

4.5# N
.07# P
.12# K

Assuming clippings are returned I try to get 3# N - .08#P - 1.5#K.
So your program would seem to be a little high on the nitrogen and extremely lacking in potash for me to use.

You might consider using another commercial, organic based fertilizer with sulphate of Potash to boopst your annual potash.

Hope this helps.

12-22-2003, 05:26 PM
Do you use CGM?

12-22-2003, 06:06 PM
AND I think jeff's program needs another .75 lbs of sulfate of potash, assuming soil chemistry is ok?

Was your program jeff, a maintanence program?


way to grow
12-23-2003, 02:14 AM
What is the 21-3-5 fertilizer you plan on using? Most of the organic fertilizers I've seen like that are way to expensive for me to make a decent profit.

12-23-2003, 07:57 AM
By organic, I mean, no pesticides.

12-23-2003, 08:22 AM

think thats a poor definition of organic "by organic, i mean, no pesticides"


12-23-2003, 10:46 AM
Agreed Tim. Going as high as 2# of potash per thousand is a good idea. Kansas State University reccommends 2# of K as a maintenace program. It also says that clippings returned to the lawn can be equivilant to a pound or more of potash. This is what I based my statement on.

What ratio do you reccommend with and without clippings returned?

This is of course a mintenance program and should be adjusted according to individual lawns soil test.

12-23-2003, 10:54 AM
Mikesturf -- no I have never used CGM and do not have direct expereince with anybody that has.

12-23-2003, 03:23 PM
in my view, the all the 'number crunching' just confuses the issue.
i understand that these numbers are 'reccomended'.

in the spirit of an organic program in which it takes time to establish the balance required for healthy turf, then the power of observation will demonstrate what does and doesnt work. A seasonal perspective is important.

time, then is an important factor. In todays world of instant gratification, some folks cant be patient to let nature do the work.
The perfect lawn will not be achieved thru one season. It may take two. BUT, in the long term , once that 'balance' is achieved, the effort required for an effective maintenance program is reduced over a few seasons. one season builds on the next, and therefore the cost to maintain the turf is decreased every year.

Healthy soil= healthy turf. Healthy turf doesnt leave any room for weeds,
Feeding the soil organic matter attracts earthworms....they do the aerating.
they deposit worm castings on the surface...same concept as topdressing.
But again...this takes time.

The term organic should refer to establishing( or re-establishing)and maintaining BALANCE.
timely (1/3 rule)mulch mowing and the application of organic matter are all that is required.
Nature does the rest.

Hence the term the 'balance of nature'.

i have never used CGM, but the application of cracked corn this season has resulted in a consistent deep green color and uniform thickening of the turf. Not much sign of reduction in weeds yet,but i expect the weeds will be struggling to take hold in the spring due to increased turf density.

Add the pre-emergent properties of CGM the weeds would be losing the battle.

Make the enviroment good for the grass and it will thrive.

Is an 'organic' program like i have outlined practical? I think so, but time is the most important factor.

Anyhoo, thats my perspective.


12-23-2003, 09:28 PM
Thanks to all the posters who gave their help and ideas. Lawn care seems to be a never ending education process. Also, lawn care seems like ordering a pizza. Every individual person has his or her idea of the perfect ingredients to put on top of a pizza. Like a lawn program and ordering pizza toppings, there a many good methods, depending upon the person, some better suited than others.

12-26-2003, 10:41 AM
maintence fert ratio is

3.lbs of n, .5lbs of p, and 2.25lbs of k if clipping returned, if clipping removed add 33% to numbers

Do soil test and get soil chemistry right!


12-26-2003, 04:28 PM
Thanks for all your help.

trying 2b organic
01-01-2004, 09:38 PM
Your idea sounds great. and all great tips. If you want to use synthetic fert sell your lawncare as -- Pesticide Free -- If you want to sell it as organic use 100 % organic fert. Milorganite is organic and pretty cheap and works amazinly. U will need to complement it with Potash. Mix some with the Milorganite or do spring with CGM then fall with 8-3-3. A question to the science guys, and Im seriously having trouble wrapping my brain around this one.

Organic Fert has less n-p-k but we apply more of it. If I apply 8-3-3 at twice the amount you apply a synthetic 16-6-6 would we be applying the same amount of nutrients. Before u get into the number cruntching re: the correct ratio plz directly answer the question. And again im not making a point, I assumed by applying more of it people on organic prgms could get same amounts as people on synth. ty lots.

01-02-2004, 11:16 AM
[i] Organic Fert has less n-p-k but we apply more of it. If I apply 8-3-3 at twice the amount you apply a synthetic 16-6-6 would we be applying the same amount of nutrients. Before u get into the number cruntching re: the correct ratio plz directly answer the question. And again im not making a point, I assumed by applying more of it people on organic prgms could get same amounts as people on synth. ty lots. [/B]Short answer - yes, if you apply twice as much 8-3-3, you'll be applying the same amount of N as 16-6-6. And conversely, you only have to apply half the amount of 16-6-6 to get the same amount N as 8-3-3.

01-02-2004, 02:17 PM
Your assumption is based on the notion that the recommended application rate and coverage areas are identical for 50 lb bags of each. They aren't. Note the coverage areas.

Base your application on lbs./1000 s.f.

For example - your 50 lb bag of organic 8-3-3 covers say 3500 sf. Since 8% of that fertilzer is N, you're applying 4 lbs of N over 3500 sf . . . about 1.14 lbs of N/1000 s.f

Now take a 50 lb bag of synth - say Lesco's 24-2-11. But notice the coverage for the 50 lb bag is 12,000 sf.

24% of that bag is N, so that's 12 lbs. of N in the 50 lb bag. 12 lbs of N for 12,000 sf . . . 1 lb/1000 sf

01-02-2004, 11:53 PM
Trying to be organic,

I believe we apply more actual N per 1000ft2 from an organic source at any one application because N will be converted to an available form of nitrate to the grass plant slowly.
So if you apply 2 lbs of actual N per 1000ft2 and it is slowly available over 4 months that would be about .5lbs actual N per month.
On the other hand if you apply a synthetic source like S.C.U (sulfur coated urea) it could all be available in 8 weeks if soil temps are high and or lots of rain/irrigation. If you applied 2lbs of actual N from a S.C.U. source and it is available in 8 weeks then the plant would have 1 lb. of actual nitrogen per month available and depending on type of grass and time of year this could cause a lot of top growth as well as use up carbohydrate storage that the plant would otherwise use to protect itself against stress/disease.
Nitrogen forms like CGM, IBDU and Urea Formaldhyde (38-0-0 nitroform) are available at a very slow rate. They are applied at higher rates less frequently. Ammonical nitrogen sources as well as urea nitrogen sources release at a much faster rate. So we make more applications per year spoon feeding the plants a little at a time and at the proper rate and time. In My opionion you can screw up a lawn a lot quicker using the fast sources of N if you do not know the plants specific needs. Get to know how all of these different products really work by research. When used properly the results will be the same.

Pete D

01-03-2004, 09:01 AM
Alright, now you guys are going to confuse him. Reread his post. He only wantedf a simple answer.

01-04-2004, 12:55 PM
I used CGM a couple years ago. I applied 15 pounds per 1,000 square feet in mid Feb (we have a really early spring, here in San Antonio). I let it sit dry for three weeks until it rained.

Results: Three weeks after it rained, my grass looked like it was on steroids. I could have mowed it twice a week but I resisted the urge. Color was deep dark green. I've never seen any fertilizer results anything like that. I did not notice any increase in density - my yard is in 90% shade so density is a problem here. I did not notice any decrease in weeds, but then again, I don't normally have summer weeds. At the time I thought I was applying it for the spring weeds, but I have learned since that the spring weed seeds sprout in the fall, so I was about 4 months late for that application.

From what I've read, a good application rate to keep the weeds down is 30-40 pounds of CGM per 1,000 square feet. If I applied it at 15 #/ksqft, I can't imagine what would happen at 30-40 #/ksqft!!! Some places that application rate is affordable and some it is not. Ohio and Kentucky seem to have CGM for about $6/100 pounds. Look at feed stores and farmers' co-ops for the best prices.

01-04-2004, 01:01 PM
Originally posted by Dchall_San_Antonio
I used CGM a couple years ago. I applied 15 pounds per 1,000 square feet in mid Feb (we have a really early spring, here in San Antonio). I let it sit dry for three weeks until it rained.

Ohio and Kentucky seem to have CGM for about $6/100 pounds. Look at feed stores and farmers' co-ops for the best prices.

I got one price for $36/100 pounds. Still looking for a good source.

01-04-2004, 02:47 PM
My best price is $20/30 pounds. Still looking for a good source myself!

01-10-2004, 08:02 PM
I read this entire thread with a lot of interest. I then tried to understand the numbers with some success. I then had to admit that I could not find just what "CGM" means.

Could some one splain what CGM is to this dummy?

I really like this new forum and am trying to get a basic understanding of "organic programs".

I will experment with my own yard to learn before I try "new" methods with my clients.

I started with a fall application of corn gluten in my front yard and chemical winterizer and pre-emergent in the back yard. It ain't scientific but I will know a lot more about it this spring.

Thanks to Dave and the rest of you guys for the education process.


trying 2b organic
01-10-2004, 08:36 PM
plz let us know how the Corn Gluten Meal (cgm) works for you, i have to pay a lot for my pellet form cgm right now and i pass it along to the customer. Its 30$ a 50lb bag. Its for people who want less weeds without pesticides. as stated it is also a wonderful source of nitrogen. The morons in the provincial legislature havnt put in on the exempted list so since i dont have a pesticide licence i sell it has a fetilizer (with benificial side effects and here are the studies to prove them)

remember not to use cgm when u are planning an overseed. great product, organic weed and feed. as supply increases price will drop and it will become more available. as with all organic products there is no big money behind it to anounce it to the world as the way to have a nice, weed free lawn. one customer at a time for now.

01-11-2004, 06:35 PM
pete of hertige,

most of natural organics applied at 1 lbs/m will last @ 8 weeks when soil temp is greater than 55 degrees

01-14-2004, 12:06 PM
Hello Timturf,
Thank for that bit of info on the CGM. The application rate of CGM to prevent crabgrass germination has raised a concern and I would like your input.

So I decide to make an application of CGM before soil temps hit 55F and I apply it at the 20Lb.per 1000sq ft rate. All of the applied nitrogen will be available to the plant in aproxx 8 weeks.
That # comes out to be 1Lb. of actual N per month 2 months in a row. Tim here is my concern.....Here in new jersey we have cool season turf...KBG,PR,TF,Fine Fescues on our home lawns. I am a firm believer in appling 2/3rds of the annual nitrogen in the fall and 1/3rd in the spring. (Here I apply about 4 Lbs total per year.)

So I just applied 2 Lbs of Act. N in my spring app. of CGM and here is what may come next......Leaf Spot,Brown Patch,Pythium. Mabey less red thread(depending on soil calcium levels).
Do you see where I am going with this. We as fine turf managers are always thinking proactively as to prevent potential problems and employ Intergrated Pest Management Techniques whenever possable.

Before I sent you this reply I had to do a bit of research on Corn Gluten Meal and Corn Meal. They are not the same....CGM will not grow Trichoderma spp. which would suppress most of the above mentioned turf diseases. Corn Meal on the other hand would Grow Trichoderma and this could conteract the heavy application of spring nitrogen....Too bad it does not work as a pre-emergent.

What do you think about this?

How much N do you apply annually and when. Here is my ratio....1st app .5Lb / 2nd app .75Lb / 3App .5Lb / 4Th App 1 Lb / 5Th App 1.5 Lbs. 1-2nd app 4 weeks apart. 3rd app 6 weeks after 2nd app. 4th app Sept 1-21st 5Th app 4 weeks after app 4. This work well for me and I have minimal disease problems using synthetics.

Let me know what you think.

Pete D

01-14-2004, 09:06 PM
Pete ,

Clipping returned majority of the time, apply 3.25lbs of n/m; ..5lbs of p/m; and 2.4lbs of k/m. If clipping are removed increase by 33%! Yes 2/3 of n applied for fall release! My fert give me a long steady slow release, this is a must since I only make 3-4 applications per season. If soil chemistry is off, I can make some minor adjustments, but if to severe, will make additional applications! Again, I use both natural organic fertilizers and sythetic, best of both worlds!

The natural organics I used are label for turf, so I know what the MINIUM GARUANTEE of nutrients!

hope this answered your question Pete, and you proable could lower your nitrogen rate

trying 2b organic
01-15-2004, 11:33 PM
tim, you know an awful lot more about soil science then me, can u help out a noob. If I apply 2 apps of Milorganite in the spring at the recomended rate of 15 lbs per k am i applying way to much N in the spring.

Milorganite 8-2-0 I use 45 lbs on an average 3000 sqr k yrd
this is the whole bag.

am i therefore applying 8 lbs of N on 3K = 2.6 lbs N per k per app?? thats way too much. why is that the reccomended rate? My costs would be much lower if I applied 7 lbs of Fert per k rather than the 15 lbs they reccommend! Should i apply it at half the rate they say?

trying 2b organic
01-15-2004, 11:50 PM
I think how i got confused is when u helped me in another thread when i was asking if by applying my organic fert at twice the rate if i could achieve the same #'s. But what i should have realized is the recc. rates on bags of organic fert is bunk and twice the rate isnt 15 lbs its 7. When i worked for a company we applied 3.5 lbs per k of trad synthetic. I'm talking about 5 aps per season btw. ty very much for sharing you knowlege and experience once again.

01-16-2004, 08:19 AM
milorganite is 6-2-0

Apply 66% 0f nitrogen for fall release!!!!!!!!!

How much total n do you apply per year?

Yes, I believe 30lbs/m of milorganite is too much n in spring!
30 x .06 = 1.8lbsn/m

milorganite will only give about 8 weeks of release

trying 2b organic
01-16-2004, 01:34 PM
ty very much tim, and release rate is very important, if the release rate for Milorganite was 12 or 15 weeks then i would provide better value by giving a heavy rate less often. However for now i will stick with 5 apps but use less Milorganite in the spring so i dont overdo the N. Do you know if other organic fertilizers break down more slowly and therefore should be applied less often, say for eg a feathermeal-bonemeal-potash
In a related area I apply my fall app earlier then i would a last app of synthetic due to the fact that as temperatures go down a fall app can take a while to decompose and get turned into food for the plants.

01-16-2004, 03:29 PM
Trying 2B organic,

When figuring application rates with a product you first need to figure out how much ACTUAL nitrogen is in the bag......if Milorganite is 8-2-0, these numbers represents the PERCENTAGE of N P and K in the bag. If the bag weighs 50Lbs and it is 8 percent N
50 x 8% = How much actual N in the bag. (4 Lbs) If you want to apply 1Lb of actual N per 1000 sq. ft. then this bag would cover 4000 sq. ft. Now divide 50 (representing the bag weight) into 4 (representing how many thousand square feet to be covered by the bag) and this will give you the product application rate per 1000 sq. ft. 50Lbs/4 =12.5pounds per 1000sq. ft.

Hope this helps!

Pete D:D

01-16-2004, 04:04 PM

roots product 8-2-6, FOR NITROGEN SOURCE contains feather meal, meat and bone meal, and mononmmoniom phoshate. My notes from man rep STATES, 12 week release at 1lbsN/m and 6 week release at .5 lbsN/m

roots 15-3-8, nitrogen source from same as 8-2-6, plus urea, methylene urea, GIVES a 6-8 week release at 1 lbsN/m, and 3-4 week release at .5lbsN/m


So maybe I should restate that 1lbsN/m from a natural organic will take 12 weeks to release. Not really sure how long, but 8-12 week release time is in ball park, of course this assume soil temp is above 55 degrees!

ROOTS products are great, BUT VERY EXPENSIVE!!!!

trying 2b organic
01-25-2004, 12:45 AM
Whats the best way to get more k into a program with 2 apps of milorganite (6-2-0) and 2 apps of 8-3-3 organic. This will equal only 1 lb of k. I will add some 0-0-50 sulfate of potash but how exactly. should i try to mix it into the spreader or do a separate run with the pure potash after i do an app of Milorganite. Is it safe to use this 0-0-50? I will need a very light application obviosly but is there a possible prob. I'm thinking about the burn we can get froma very high N product. ty.

01-25-2004, 01:29 AM
2 b organic,

Salt index of milorganite is .7, sulfate potash is .9, muriate of potash is 1.9, urea is 1.7, scu is.7, potassium nitrate is 5.3

Could use greensand
1 lbs K/m of sulfate would be safe any time

Do a seperate run

What grass are you treating?

trying 2b organic
01-25-2004, 02:02 PM
rye-fescue , awsome, so its the salt index that causes a "burn" sometimes? And since sulfate of potash has a low index i can do a separate run and its safe? Thats great, I'm just trying to get a decent ratio since with organics you get what you get. The come a little light in the K for esp when you do a couple apps with Milorganite like I said. ty again. btw one pain I have discovered is the 4% iron in milorganite is enough that i have to sweep or blow it off concrete because it will stain. No biggie i guess. Its good cause we have moss and deer and it is good for both. (Iron repels moss, Milorganite for some reason repels deer)

01-25-2004, 02:31 PM

could do when you apply organic fert, depends on how your program is set up! In your locall, you want potash levels up going into summer, you have the most stress on coll season turf then in your zone.
Potash and iron both help with stress. You are getting plenty of iron from milorganite. Please pm me about your fert program if youwant additional info