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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Tim Wilson, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I will do just that in my back yard... there will be three test plots...

    #1 will be straight compost
    #2 will be compost and manure
    #3 will be straight manure...

    Kiril, as far as manure... is this composted or are you referencing manure from a local farm? If from a local farm I see weed seeds becoming an issue... if it is composted... then the N won't really be there. I have my "Cobbpost" as Tree affectionately called it which is a Class A Biosludge. That is what I burnt the previous lawn with... I have used it twice, the first time was fine, no burning, lawn is great, the second was much more fresh causing the lawn to be burnt and what not... would you consider replacing the manure with the cobbpost?
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    It would be "finished" compost, just not to the extent that Tim noted above. The stuff I use has manure compost added to it by the distributor (i.e. it is a blended compost). If you need some "quick" N, any organic source that will provide a quick release will do the trick, as long as it is sustainable. ;)
  3. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    it may be difficult for me to find something like that... the dairy farm near here "dries" their manure but it is not composted by any means that I have found. There are chicken manure compost plants around... maybe I will try them...

    I would consider biosludge as sustainable wouldn't you? I have other issues with it though that I still have to figure out how to handle...
  4. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795


    What do you consider a low N in compost if the N in compost cannot be measured (typically) because it is sequestered?
  5. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    My concern with a sequestered N compost is how long would it take for the N to become available in the amounts needed for the turf? Any studies to show the time it takes to notice the exchange?

    And from what I understand... Bermuda grass for instance, the lawn will request the N it needs from the soil through the microbes... which means, in my case here, that the compost will have to be replenished as to be able to provide the needed N for a healthy lawn... how do you know if they N is there and available if you can't measure for it? Just keep adding to be safe?
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I judge it based on plant response. A properly finished compost should not produce your typical quick release N response ... and naturally it depends on the source as well with regard to how quickly the N will become available.
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636


    When doing your test... it would be best (but costs money) to have each sample tested for both soluble N and total N... that way you have the numbers to back up, and explain, the turf's response.

    Out here, a manure takes ten years to release all of its N... each year releasing less than the year before... this was determined by University tests in a farmers field... a lawn will be different... another climate will also be different.. a different soil will also be different...

    The state of Washington has done a lot of testing on N release, and other universities have designed elaborate programs that help a farmer plan his organic fertilizing schedule. The programs know N release for various forms of media and calculate how much N is available every year. They even calculate compounding N from annual applications.

    Anyways back to your test... on the manure at least.. make sure you get a soluble N test. If you need I can help you calculate an application rate that will not burn your lawn.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    This is really only a concern when you are starting off with a soil low in OM. Once you have the nutrient cycle going, the N will typically be there when needed assuming there is N available in the OM. As Tim pointed out, you put a compost with a C:N of 30:1 or higher on your landscape, I would not be expecting a quick N turnover from that.

    It can be measured, however it does not fall into your typical lab N test protocol (i.e. soil nitrate).
  9. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I will have a normal soil test done on each sample before hand... I will also take a soil sample of my current soil as well. One thing unfortunately is I have already treated it with a little Urea so the N may be up some to begin with. Who knows...

    I don't believe I will have major funds for any major testing so this will generally be more of a see what works and doesn't as far as the underlying cause... that is more than I feel I will have time or money to investigate...
  10. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    Understandable... 99% of the lawns I will be coming in contact with will generally be sod laid on straight red clay. So OM is not something I will be fortunate to be starting with... just what I put down myself. Therefore, the immediate, solubale N is something I will need to jump start the bermuda... falling in line with the need for manure that Kiril is mentioning.

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