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Old 10-17-2007, 08:50 PM
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muddstopper muddstopper is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: transition zone
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Originally Posted by Nuute
Everything I have read says that an organic lawn will have lower water needs, so thinking ahead for next year, I am here.

Orginally posted by Kiril
I would sure like to see that data. If water is a concern, get rid of the turf.

I am not going to get in the debate that is going on in another thread, but i do want to add a personal observation.

Yesterday, I was in Salisibury NC. I watched them dig a huge hole with a 320 cat trackhoe. They went down to about 8 ft in depth. The last bucket full of soil when dumped from the bucket was dry and threw up a cloud of dust. The creek that runs beside the site ,and is usually a pretty good size stream, is completely dry. Moisture content from the subsoil material was almost non-exsistant. Right beside that same hole, a scrapper pan was being used to scrap off the top layer of topsoil. They where only removeing about 2 or 3 inches of the very top layer of the soil. At no time did that scrapper stir up any dust. The top soil contained a good amount of organic matter, grass roots, residues, ect. The topsoil also contained a good amount of moisture and compacted under the weight of the scraper tires instead of produceing dust. It would seem obvious to me that a good organic soil will hold and retain more moisture than a non-organic soil. If anybody here is from the Salsibury area, you can verify this for yourself by driving down Boundry St to the old balkpark that is being ripped up.

Topdressing with a good quality topsoil is usually more productive to a healthy lawn than incorporating that same compost. Composed material is a material that can still be broken down to humis and as that material is broken down it will rob nutrients necessary for plant growth. Microbes eat first and the plants get leftovers. Placing the compost material on the top surface of the soil reduces the amount of compost material surface area that is available to the microbes and will yeild a slow release of nutrients to the plants, as well as retian moisture in the soil. If you doubt the moisture retention effect of topdressing, just dump a load of mulch in the corner of your yard and wait a few days and then check the soil beneath that pile of mulch and see how much wetter the soil under the mulch will be than the soil that surrounds the mulch pile.

Compost is only as good as the material it is made from. Cotton burr residue should contain a good amount of calcium and a fair amount of nitrogen. This can be supplemented with the grain meals which should be good sources of Phosphorous and smaller amounts of potassium. Sulfur and boron content of the grians will probably also be decent. Any nutrients contained in the compost and grain materials will be easier for the turf to pick up than natural sources of the same nutrients.

I am not a big fan of compost teas. Most people cant make them correctly and even if made correctly, will need to apply a readily available food source for the microbes or you will lose the full benefit of the tea in a matter of hours. Just because you appiled the microbes to the soil doesnt mean they will live. Applying the compost teas after the compost and meal application will have a better effect than the use of teas by themselfs.
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