View Full Version : organic program w/ sythetic 1st app

way to grow
02-17-2004, 10:36 PM
I have developed an almost completely organic program for my customers(except for spot weed control), and because customers want a quick green up in the spring I'm thinking of doing the first app synthetic. Maybe even with a synthetic pre-em? Is this going to have a huge adverse effect on the health of the soil and the microbes? If I use an organic with microbes for the 2nd application should that take care of it? Any advice you guys have would be great. I of course just want to have happy customers with beautiful lawns and healthy soil. Thanks for your help. You guys rock!

02-17-2004, 11:52 PM
I see no problem, see the thread, organic- is it the best? post by buckwalter

way to grow
02-18-2004, 01:40 PM
Thanks timturf, I'm still a little worried though. How long will the pre-em stay in the soil? I'm pretty sure it isn't exactly good for the biologicals.(microorganisms etc.)

02-18-2004, 07:18 PM
I wouldn't worry about it!

02-19-2004, 10:31 AM

I'm new to this group. I have been working with organics for a few years now and have a good understanding how they work. I am forming a lawn company that is specializing in just that.

From my own experience applying a good organic fertilizer with a nitrogen number around the 7-10 range you will get very good green up without the crazy leggy growth high nitrogen numbers cause. Your customers with probably appreciate the fact they don't have to cut their lawns 3 times a week also. With organic you get a good steady growth with a hardier blade and eventually a thicker lawn.

02-20-2004, 04:57 AM
A couple years ago I got unbelievable green-up using corn GLUTEN meal at 15 pounds per 1,000. I'm trying never to do THAT again - too much growth all at once. The only difference between the application of synthetics and organics is the organics should be applied 3 weeks before the grass starts to grow. That gives the microbes time to digest and do something with it.

As someone pointed out with a grin on another thread, things happen earlier here in South Central Texas, but I applied my first fertilizer last weekend on Valentine's Day. I can guarantee you I will be mowing real grass (as opposed to weeds) by the end of March, a full month before the folks on the synthetic program have figured out what weeds they need to control. That's about the time they hit the lawn with weed and feed and screw up everything.

way to grow
02-20-2004, 01:44 PM
Thank you very much Mr. Moderator!! Do the results of an organic fertilizer (ex. corn gluten meal) have anything do with how much OM or microbial life is already in the soil? It seems like it would because those are the guys that are going to break the stuff down into usable food for the grass????:confused:

03-19-2004, 09:32 PM
Has anyone really determined a rate of application for corn gluten?

I'm seeing some interesting things happen now, just one month after application. One lawn, (buffalo grass - 2nd year using CGM, and fertilized last year with Milorganite, but somewhat weedy) has greened up nicely - thick and dense, but crabgrass has appeared, as well as some winter broadleaves. . .

Another lawn, (Tif bermuda - no pre-m last year, Milorganite fert all last year - beautiful, virtually weed free) hasn't emerged from dormancy yet, and has been invaded by all kinds of winter broadleaves, some crabgrass, and poa annua.

It appears to have no preemergent properties whatsoever at 15 lbs./1000 sf on either lawn.

Too little? Too late? I'm confused and customers are annoyed.

03-24-2004, 01:07 PM
Where do you live that you have crabgrass growing already? Usually that doesn't show up until late April or May even in Texas.

If you want to fertilize with corn GLUTEN meal, the rate is more like 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If you want to control weed seeds with it, you need more like 40 pounds per 1,000. At a dollar per pound that gets very expensive. The results have something to do with the amount of microbes in the soil. I know one lady rancher who is applying 20 gallons per acre of compost tea to get her microbe count up.

Buffalo grass is always weedy. Were your clients misinformed about that when they planted it? Winter broadleafed weeds are usually wildflowers that sprouted last October and remain nearly dormant until the days start to get longer. Those weeds can be plucked quickly and easily with a WeedHound (available at Wal*Mart and all the box stores).

03-25-2004, 10:30 AM
There's crabgrass showing up here in Central TX now. Mild winter and very wet this spring.

. . . 40 lbs/1000 sf for pre-m control . . . that's also 4 lbs. of N/1000sf . . . the entire year's amt of N.

trying 2b organic
03-28-2004, 02:22 AM
My organic with cgm is my most expensive prgm. I apply it at about 15 lbs per k. I need more first hand info about whether it works. I dont want to waste my customers money. This stuff is hardly available in western canada but i gathered it is sold widely across america as organic weed and feed. The govt of canada is presently testing the cgm brand Turfmaize and if it is an effective herbacide will be registered as a pesticide but hopefully also added to the exempted lists.

I was at an organic turfgrass day long last weekend and some golf course guys said cgm doesnt work but they are generally critical of organics so I cant take it as fact.

Also customers are asking about using it in perenial beds. Has anyone used it for weed control in beds? I am testing products as fast as I can and will post results.

03-28-2004, 12:54 PM
To get some what pre emerge control of grassy weeds, are moderate states you need 40 lbs/m, do you want that much nitrogen? ( @ 4lbsN/m)

03-29-2004, 11:31 PM
problem or question i have with corn gluten, at 20 lb/1000 the reason you get any control is your shading the soil.

we need more research to come up with alternate controls from natural sources.

03-30-2004, 01:39 PM
what do you mean by 'shading' the soil?

do you mean the CGM acts almost like a mulch at that rate?

03-31-2004, 12:34 AM
Shading the soil is exactly what i mean. @ 20 lb/1000
that makes for dense coverage. Crabgrass and weeds need sunlight to germinate. hence shading the soil with the corn gluten.
So my question is.... do you get control because of the corn glutens control characteristics? Or is it because @ 2o lb/1000 of anything, you are shading the soil so crabgrass cant germinate?
I would think Mowing height is a more effective control measure than that i have seen from corn gluten.

03-31-2004, 12:52 AM
I agree about the mowing height, in my opinion the mowing is THE most important factor in a healthy lawn.
I have an area of turf that was terrible two years ago, but with consitent mowing high it is now the healthier than the surrounding turf and weeds are few and far between, particularly the dreaded dandelion. As time passes the area of healthy turf gets larger. And this area has had no fertilizer or weed control of any kind in decades besides the grass clippings.

So plain old cornmeal at 10 cents a pound would serve the same purpose as corn gluten at one tenth the cost.
So following that line of thinking, topdressing with sand or compost or would also serve the same purpose.
It then follows that as the corn or topdressing decays it feeds the microbes , which in turn feed the grass, which thickens to the point where weed seeds CANT germinate.
thick turf chokes out weeds. Simple.

J lawn
04-16-2004, 07:51 AM
I live in michigan and can find corn meal but not corn gluetin meal will just corn meal work to green up my lawn.


04-22-2004, 12:11 PM
Corn Gluten Meal is easy to find - let me know if you need help.

As for rates, I have found that 25lbs per 1000 is the rate of choice in my area. Obviously in Texas the microbial action will be much more intense, even in the spring and it will green things up.

Here, it does not do that too much until you hit 30lbs/1000, so 25 gives moderate weed control and relatively even growth. 40 lbs per 1000 would certainly give some weed control, but that is certainly going to push some growth too! I think it depends on where you live.

At any rate, it is a valid tool, but certainly not the best one, although this year there seems to be a much stronger demand for the product than in past years - I am not sure why.

05-03-2004, 10:33 PM
I wouldn't use a Pre-m sythetic product as the first app. You are kind of defeating the purpose of having an organic program. You should so your ferts as all organic. With sustain or another decent fert. Then do a tea app to increase microbial activity. Then just do spot weed control with chemicals. That would be my suggestion for the healthiest lawn.

05-04-2004, 10:41 AM
Is it the sythetic pre emerge thats the problem, or could it be the fertilizer carrier?

Which would be the best in an organic based program 1) 15-5-10, 30% scu, mop, applied at 5lbs/m, or 2) barricade applied at .75 lbs ai/a? The application date for one or the other would be applied 3 weeks before expected crabgrass germination.

So, which harms soil micro organism ? Neither, one, or both, and why?