View Full Version : compost topdressing problem

trying 2b organic
06-15-2004, 07:32 PM
I over-seeded a lawn with top quality compost. I must have done it just as the black medic was comming up. It went nuts with the compost and took over the whole lawn. It covered the grass faster than the grass could come up.

Topdressed at 1 yd per k. Certified #1 Perrenial Rye at 7 lbs per k. Lawn was quite weedy, this was to be a renovation. I told the customer that the black medic will fade ( just like the chickweed and cranesbill did before it) and when it does proper watering will let the new grass come up.

I assume my timing was off, that overseeding esp when topdressing should be done when its too cold for weeds to be at thier peak but still ok for growing grass, ie. early spring and fall. That it was too late in the spring and the compost became weed food. Plz tell me your results with overseeding and topdressing very weedy lawns. (with and without pesticides, mine was without)

06-23-2004, 10:25 PM
I have never topdressed. For a really weedy lawn I try to wipe it out with the vinegar, aerate it 5-6 times, then I verticut endophytic seeds into the lawn at a rate of 8#'s/1000. I would like to try topdressing to see if the results are faster. I'm not sure how good it is to drown a yard with 10 gallons of vinegar either. Sometimes I wonder if spraying a "trikill" on the property one time and then switch client to 100% organic is a better way. Maybe it's a better option to get people off pesticides, rather than have a clients switch back to the companies that use pesticides annually with no end in site.

Garden Panzer
06-25-2004, 11:16 PM
You gotta be kiddin' me!!!!

I'm not sure how good it is to drown a yard with 10 gallons of vinegar either.

It's not a good thing to do!

trying 2b organic...did you aerate prior to topdressing? There are LIQUID fish ferts that contain N that one can use.....
What I'm tryin' to say is did you do your lawn rene' with good CULTURAL METHODS?

06-26-2004, 06:18 PM
If the lawn was really weedy it may have been better to renovate rather than topdress and overseed. If the lawn is 30 - 50 % weeds it may be easier to reno.
For fairly weedy lawns, we either hand pull or weed spray before topdressing and overseeding. This gives the new seeds space to grow and limits competition. If you want to be "organic" eventually you make have to spray at the outset to get things going in the right direction.

06-26-2004, 08:44 PM
You gotta be kiddin' me!!!!

Panzer, I have a 3 gallon backpack sprayer, and filling it up 3 times to spray 3000 ft2 isn't that much! I can usually spray 3 gallons per 1500 ft2 +/-. By the way I usually dilute the product 3-1.

06-27-2004, 05:59 PM
If we have a yard that is over 30% weeds we will renovate, and put sod down before starting an organic program. This I know is different from what you guys do up in the Northern States were most all of your grassing is done with seeding. However, that 30% of weed coverage holds true in the south, north, west, and east.

Next time if you are not for sure call us. We can help you out on all your problems. There is no problem in the landscape that we do not have a biological / organic solution for.

Cenlo would like to know the sqft of the area you treated with 10 gallons of vinegar.



06-27-2004, 10:35 PM
Here is a puzzle

06-27-2004, 10:38 PM

06-27-2004, 10:39 PM

06-27-2004, 10:40 PM

06-27-2004, 10:42 PM
What do these three pictures add up to and what do they tell us about this thread?

06-28-2004, 03:57 PM

good puzzle, very creative :)

trying 2b organic
06-29-2004, 02:16 AM
Are you saying the organic movement (mostly pie in the sky intellectuals) are selling us snake oil?? Woa !

I thought aerating/topdressing with compost/ and overseeding was the ultimate reno.

Q - If I was to use a herbicide (not that I would ever need to of course) would it be better to use one (Par 111 for eg.) before I overseed, or 2 weeks after I overseed. To avoid the problem I had with weeds taking my generous gift of organic matter, and running amuck.

Anyway, no one here is selling snake oil and I appreciate the input from the "traditional" lawn care guys, the full organic folks, and esp those that are using a combination of both. You have to admit, the results of verticutting and overseeding every spring is less use of herbicides during the season due to less weeds due to thicker turf, surely to God you have to admit that Hamons. :angel:

Garden Panzer
06-29-2004, 04:15 AM
Hey people....
I'm ALL for IPM....
I just HAVE to deliver a product that ROCKS!!!
I DO go some cycles FULLY organic, but find it hard to get away from IBDU in the late fall.....

As for this:
Panzer, I have a 3 gallon backpack sprayer, and filling it up 3 times to spray 3000 ft2 isn't that much! I can usually spray 3 gallons per 1500 ft2 +/-. By the way I usually dilute the product 3-1.

Maybe switch to a hose end sprayer you can hook up to a clients house....ORTHO makes a GREAT one with EXCELLENT calibration. It might save you some time and LESS mixing and loading.... just a thought!
Here's a good site for liquid stuff that you might find interesting.......

06-29-2004, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by bioman

Next time if you are not for sure call us. We can help you out on all your problems. There is no problem in the landscape that we do not have a biological / organic solution for.


A snake oil salesman is someone who tells people his products can fix anything and sells those products on salesmanship alone.

I agree with you completelytrying 2B Orgainc - which is why it bothers me that others will hijack a thread to sell their wares. Because they are a sponsor means nothing except that they were willing to pay a certain amount to have a seperate set of rules to follow.

i design my program using mostly organic materials supplemented with appropriate use of herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. So far this year I haev used a %0% organic preemergent in the Spring and an am spraying a mixture of seaweed extract soluable humates and fish emulsion for my summer round.

As to your origninal question. If I have a very weedy lawn I clean-out ayard by using Drive herbicide mixed wirth Quicksilver. It kills the crabgrass and a few broadleaf weeds and gives the grass a fighting chance. When you topdress and/or overseed you are helping out the weeds just as much as the grass. Both Black medic and grass seed germinate when soil temperature reaches 55 for three consecutive days -- so I don't see how timing would be all that critical -- except that grass will be ready to grow the next spring and the black medic will be dead and have tos tart over again.

I don't have expereince with par111 as a herbicie, but you will need to check its label for the reseeding interval. Typically three ways have a very long reseeding interval. Speedzone has a 2 week interval and Drive has 0 - 2 day interval depending on Grass type.

Most you can spray on grass after 2nd mowing.

trying 2b organic
06-29-2004, 04:15 PM
When preparing to overseed a very weedly lawn you use drive and quicksilver first. I know that will kill the weeds that exist which is great, can I assume also that I am greatly improving my chances of getting the grass up without weed interference? I just want to be clear on what I could do differently when approaching a topdressing/ overseeding job to prevent what happened in this case. To alude to what another poster said about results that ROCK, thats what I'm talking about.

When someone pays me to renovate their lawn and the new lawn gets taken over by black medic because the weed grew faster than the grass and spread like mad, thats not good enough. I need to know how to ensure that that will never happen again and what I can do about it.

As far as timing goes I am a little suprised to hear that they germinate at the same temparatures because I can get grass to Perrenial Rye to germinate in Feb. here (Pacific Northwest) and dont see black medic till June.

ty again.

06-29-2004, 11:22 PM
To kill off a weedy lawn that is not too big, what about using some black tarps on the ground? I know they sell certain types of tarps which will block all sunlight. Has anyone done this? And how long would it have to stay tarped?

"Here's to hoping that this is not a stupid question", Don;)

06-30-2004, 09:09 AM
If you are not getting adequate control of weeds before /after your overseeding and topdressing then really the only option is to spray for the weeds first.

If it is to hot out then the par III wont work that well and may damage the grass so make sure that the lawn/weeds are growing well first. Then spray with your herbicide, wait at least 2 weeks, and then do your seed/top dress thing.

It would be nice to be completly organic but sometimes its just not going to happen in a realistic time line. I think that it is better to pro mo it as good solid IPM and once the weeds are gone the first time, try to keep them out with a healthy vigorous lawn.

06-30-2004, 07:05 PM
who hijacked what?

06-30-2004, 07:13 PM
Hamons, I was not trying to sell anything to anybody. All I did was try to help some one out, and you come in here and accuse me of hijacking a thread, and being a snake oil salesman. One I did not know this was your thread, and two, you have never tried any of our products. You have not even call my company. Yes I am a sponsor of this site, and we do not get any special treatment. This is called advertisement. Do you not advertise your company in the proper medium. So please think the before you speak. I am not one of your first graders.

There is no problem in the landscape that we do not have a biological / organic solution for.



06-30-2004, 09:41 PM

The snake oil salesaman comment was directly linked to your comment -- "There is no problem in the landscape that we do not have a biological / organic solution for."

I immediately distrust anybody who would make a blanket statement sucha s this. I am a proponent and regulat user of organics and sell it in myu area strongly. However, I woul.d NEVER say that I have a solution for all of my cleints problems.

Sponsors ARE given special treatment. ANd they should be that way. I was jsut pointing out that all a asponsor does is pay moneya nd should not be seen as an endorsement of any kind.

I have not tried any of your products or talked to you about any of your products based solely on your advertising demeanor. Although I do use several products that you offer. For instance, current application consists of humates, seaweed extract and fish emulsion mixed with some UF.

TRYING @B Organic,

I have looked at a few places to find an exact germination temperature for Black Medic and have not been able to find one. However, Weedalert doers give ti a similar germination dates as crabgrass -- so I would think that would mean it was somewhere around 55 degrees. One interesting fact I did find though while researching a l;ittle was that Black medic was one of the few weed seeds that could not be destroyed by the composting problem. Related?

06-30-2004, 09:53 PM
thats the reason i make my own compost...i KNOW the 'ingredients'...

were there black medic seeds in the compost?

maybe i misinterpreted your post about black medic seeds, but are you saying the black medic seeds are not destroyed in the heat of composting?

that would certainly explain the black medic infestation...

06-30-2004, 10:37 PM
From University of California

Weeds can usually be controlled and not be contaminants of the finished product provided the pile is kept adequately moist. Turn the pile frequently will ensure that blown in seeds on the pile surface are exposed to lethal temperatures. Be aware, though, that some weed seeds are hard seeded and may not be well controlled by heat. Examples of these weeds include burr clover, black medic, and velvetleaf

from http://esce.ucr.edu/wasteman/CMCHER~1.HTM

Garden Panzer
06-30-2004, 11:55 PM
If you're doin' it organic and the like.... ya just gotta get used to weed pulling. I got lots of black medic here and it's got a shallow taproot. Ever use a tool called a hula-hoe?

07-01-2004, 08:44 AM

The one thing I can say about our company is if you have a problem in the landscape we have a biological / organic solution to it. Our compost is time, heat, and dot certified. It is a money loosing process do to the time it takes from start to finish. One year from start to finish We also make special blends for both the landscape and agro industries. Again I am not trying to sell this compost to you. I am just trying to educate the people out there what they should be looking for when they go to buy compost.

Also a person might call our company for a solution, and if it is determined he can get a similar product that has been proven to work closer to where he at we have no problem with that. If you had called my company with a problem and received no help or no solution I could understand your comment, but you have not.



trying 2b organic
07-22-2004, 01:25 AM
Panzer you can pull black medic? I cant find a taproot on the s.o.b. Its the toughest weed ive ever tried to hand pull, Ill check out the tool you mention.
I may or may not have brought in more black medic but in this case it was definatley already on site. funny thing about this job though, in the dips in the lawn, where a full 2-3 inches of topdressing went down, the grass came in awsome with no weeds. So, I guess it was mostly existing weeds i was dealing with in the rest of the lawn where I had simply raked in a quarter inch of compost.
Therefore my options seem to be ....... use a 3 way 2 weeks prior to topdressing and over-seeding.