Adding/Replacing Organics to Current Practices

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    What are some ways that Organics can be implemented to current application schedule that benefit the turf,,, w/out losing credibility with the customer???

    It is always said that the client will have to lower expectations to go Organic,,, but I don't believe that this is an "All or Nothing" proposition...
    I mulch mow, use more Milorganite than synfert, don't use any pre-M and only spot spray broadleaf...

    Is there anything more that can be added to the system???
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    For our common clay-loam topsoils, it seems the first important step is to increase water infiltration(soaking in) rather than puddling or washing away over the surface...
    I believe that grass clippings provide some of that physical characteristic necessary to help that happen...
    What else would add mass to the topsoil that would aid in the water soaking in???
    Would corn/soy meal be needed IF there were already plenty of grass clippings on the soil, in the turf???
     
  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,948

    NOOOOOO! A common mistake I see is adding more organic matter to a soil that already has 5% or more organic matter. I do believe in the soluble humic acid supplements for soil aggregation and chelation of nutrients. However, my talk with most people centers around how compost is not a magic powder. Any greening they see from that is from the 0.5% N. That lasts all of 30-60 days. Then it has to be done again. Compost is also high in salts. Something else, that I already have plenty of. GIGO(garbage in, garbage out).

    On grass clippings: I do not collect clippings. On a well fertilized lawn that is mowed to the correct height for the species of grass, they decompose rapidly on contact with the soil. GIGO. This does not work if this is attempted with a starved lawn. When I get such a lawn to tend, the clippings are collected until nutritional status is corrected.
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    What gives you the idea that this topsoil has 5% OM??? Why would compost have so much salt when it comes from composted leaves and chipped branches??? The soil is not nutritionally starved,,, I'm just talking about transitioning to Organics... :)
     
  5. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    Topdressing has its place but I can't imagine it changing anything beneath the existing soil line. Chemical adjustments, possibly yes, and core aerating followed by topdressing may help with that.

    I am uneducated about meals and glutens but from what I have read on the forums here their use does not pass the smell test with me. Same with molasses. Even if they were incredibly effective I do not believe it would change anything below the soil line.
     
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    So you don't believe that organics has any real value for CEC in the root zone, or the structure change for infiltration improvement???
     
  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    Yes, if it is placed there and well mixed in. I do not believe it will magically migrate to the root zone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Fungal activity along with other soil critters, including earthworms may be able to build the soil structure if the moisture/air ratio is maintained in reasonable fashion, along with an adequate food supply... At least that is how the theories go... :)
     
  9. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    I respect that for the true organics folks it is an all or nothing proposition. I occasionally use orgnic products in the heat of the summer and good cultural practices throughout the year but I am not an organics LCO or even a bridge program guy. I did not come to the organics forum to bash organics. Having recently topdressed afoot all field with around 30 tons of compost I was interested in this thread.
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    So did you look at your root zone soil before the compost and then again as time goes by to compare structure changes???

    What was you thinking would be the benefit of all that compost, when you spread it???
     

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