Compost instead of fert with drought

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DeepGreenLawn, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    OK, I was stupid this past few days... I don't know what I was thinking. I had a few customers call about their lawn not being green like their neighbors, these are my organic customers. I am trying my hardest to do a better job of controlling expectations, I have gotten that speech a time or two before.

    Without water I know nothing will change really BUT... I was thinking, with the lack of rain and the watering restrictions, would I see a better result from compost than I would from a tradtional fert? This is for both trad. and organic customers. I hate putting down trad. fert with the lack of water, it makes my stomach turn literally, I am still building the confidence to stop and make my stand.

    What kind of results can I see with compost vs. fert? I know it will be more expensive as with the treatment I will do an aeration and ICT treatment. This isn't too expensive for me as in the aerator is paid for and the ICT is not that expensive to begin with. Right now, as most of you know, I am buying my compost but am also working on making my own. So... if I can get them to water and the added rain we may get, what is the turn around of healthy lawn I can expect to see? AND, when I make my compost treatment, what "treatments" do I need to make afterwards? I am talking mainly about ICT treatments. I may now have a source of CT thanks to Bill but I am looking into that.

    I KNOW COMPOST IS #1 FOR ORGANICS! I am 99.9999% sure that it is the best option for my customers with the drought, I need to know what I can tell them the treatments will be afterwards. If it costs them $200 for a treatment of compost, I am unsure of my numbers just a wild guess, then how long could I wait to make another treatment of ICT/ fert.

    I am sure I am contradicting myself but I think you may get the idea. This is mainly talking about my trad customers here.
     
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Realistic expectations.
     
  3. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,308

    Bump the N and use something with a little iron. Alfalfa has good iron.
     
  4. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I don't think I want to raise the N, the point is to lower the stress on the lawns due to the drought. I am thinking more of lowering the N. I just figured the compost would be better with water retention resulting in a better lawn in these times.

    What I want to know is how long does it typically take to see a difference? I am sure if I were to have gotten compost down this EARLY spring we would be looking good... but... that didn't happen for numerous reasons. I also know that it would still help to put it down now... I just want to know how long yall have found it takes for the compost to get into the soil so it will make a difference.
     
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,308

    You have to get the Color before the heat hits, N and iron give you that color. For cool season grass heavy Fall N is the key, for sourthern grass the timing is different, do a search, timturf
    has good info on programs from around 04.
     
  6. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I know that, but the heat is here. SO, I was wandering if a natural compost with it's own nutrients and what not, would work fast enough to help this year? I am pretty sure I have missed the mark, especially since there is such a tight watering ban. But I am trying to think strategically, if I put down the compost, and we get a rainy day like today, then would it be enough of a difference soon enough to get the lawn looking better?
     
  7. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,308

    So do you know the nutrient content of your compost. If Iron or N is not available how are you going to get Greener turf. Quick fix Milorganite it has 4 % iron. Even quicker, iron spray
     
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    What does compost ACTUALLY do??

    Do you NEED an expensive amount?

    Are the grasses dormant? Or are they going that way??
     
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    What makes Georgia red clay red?
     
  10. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    Iron oxides combined with the lack of other darker colored materials make the soil red. The actual presence of iron in the soil doesn't necessarily mean there is sufficient quantities of plant available iron.

    Without any water, adding N in any form isn't going to do any good in terms of quick greening. I would still apply the compost though because that will help in other ways and if you really need a quick green then a sprayable iron may keep your customers happy until you can achieve the green in more natural ways.
     

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