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Corn Gluten

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by rugmankc, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The customer doesn't really understand what you are trying to accomplish in the soil. Hardly anyone understands what we are accomplishing in the soil.
    When we look at 'organic' NPK inputs to match the amounts of synthetic NPK, then we can be pretty sure that not much is understood about what is going on in the soil.

    I am not trying to be funny, arrogant, arguementive, or any such thing of the like. The problem is any thought out of time with anyones' preconcieved notions is quickly mocked and goes no where.

    Can a compost with .5/.5/.5 (NPK) be applied to seed and be an adequate 'starter fertilizer'? In most normal soils the answer is yes. Not because of the P amount in the 'fertilizer', but because of what is happening in the soil.
     
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,116

    Nicely said and I agree with you, sometimes there is nothing going on in the soil, hydroseeding for instance. The plant, after using the resources provided in the seed during germination often need a gentle push (nutrients) to the next stage to get established. This is the time when most losses occur in seeding, once through that stage the root begins to establish its symbioytic relationships in the soil.

    this is why plants will often put out millions of seeds in a year, so that some will get established, its a cruel world out there LOL

    I am not saying YOU HAVE TO have plant available nuntrients for this process but often you will have better success especially if the seed is in a hostile environment
     
  3. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    I put the most important part of the quote in bold.

    Exactly why TRUST is the key ingredient. Be professional and reputable. Those first ten customers are the hardest ten. The first 50, the hardest 50, etc. BUT once you have them and their trust, you have them, without question. The customer education should stop at the point they understand YOUR qualifications, and not extend to the point that we are educating them about what we are actually doing. I've spent a lifetime acquiring the knowledge I have to do what I do. If they can afford my service, I hope they have done the same in their profession. If they want to spend the time to explain to me what they do first, I might feel like reciprocating.

    I haven't done or seen specific tests on 'post, but I would think the analysis above is low, but I don't think it really matters. I wouldn't consider 'post to be a starter fertilizer. I would consider it a phenomenal starter seed bed and mulch for the new seed. I think I would still be very tempted to add a very light shot of fertilizer to the mix or make an application about ten days after seeding, but I tend to "push" turf.
     
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    I mean the former in reference to hardpan. In my area the subsoil is only an inch or 2 deep. West of the fall line it's red, blue marle, gray, or white silica clay. East it's sand and pea gravel (my yard). Since SOM seems critical for organics to be effective and not so much for synthetics wouldn't recommending their use make more sense initially? I mulch every lawn on a fert program, so I am constantly adding organic compost to the soil. The OP looked to fit this profile (low SOM) and I was lampooned for my advice, yet as the thread progresses,those that lampooned are saying the same thing. It's a little confusing. So what do you mean by 'subsoiler' ? Is it a product, tool, or technique? Just looking to learn.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So you mean you have 2 inches of topsoil and your hardpan starts, at that depth? Or do you mean that your hardpan is only 2" thick and the sand is underneath.

    A subsoiler has long teeth that are capable of ripping into a hard subsoil, several inches below the plow depth. Strong teeth and a lot of horse power to do that. :)
     
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    Well said. On you last statement, what is considered normal soil (% of OM)? Here its thin topsoil (if at all) then crud. My kingdom for loamy soil:).
     
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    Yes, hardpan starts at 2" or less. No sand west of the fall line. Just good old clay until you hit water or granite (funny story, really rich guy wants ALL rocks out of his ground so he can have the perfect lawn. Excavator hits a boulder, tells the rich guy its big. Rich guy says get it out at all cost. Spends 1.5 million on removal only ro find out it was bedrock.True story). Thats what I thought a subsoiler was. We call them "rippers" down here. Wouldn't do any good since the cable, phone, irrirgation, and sod have already been installed. I have never seen a builder use one here. This is Harley country, and not the bike.
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Let us get straight on what a hardpan is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardpan

    Lots of people in the south east call their clay hardpan, even when it is not. It is a regional thing.

    If there is a hardpan, then it should be addressed directly.
     
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    Thanks for the link. Wiki describes our soil here to a "T". It even mentions using gypsum which I have used in white silica with with good results. Main problem I run into is the way builders do installs. They level the ground to hardpan,remove most of the established trees, build the house, install electric, put in 4 dozen of the same plant species on the foundation, bookend with chinese holly, and put 2 trees symetrically in the front lawn (usually bradfords, maples, or river birches). Then dig a hole, bury construction debris, and then install sod over top of unprepared hardpan. And this is one a million dollar home!
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Different bags of compost have different values. I got a bag one time that claimed 3-1-1. You are right it really does not matter. IMO. What compost does for the soil is begin the process of soil structure and feed the wee-beasties that will enhance the structure. Also what happens in the soil - is a balance.

    You may or may be familiar with AM fungi. Establishing them early is certainly preferable to 'not at all'. Additional P to the soil stifles or inhibits the growth and activity of AMF. Microbes like to grow in OM and many form symbiotic relationships with all kinds of plants.

    The plant feeds the bacteria - the bacteria grow like crazy - dissolving specific nutrients from the soil that the plant needs at the time. We had a thread on that some time ago. ITCBill introduced it.

    To me the amazing thing was when the plant had enough of a particular element it would cease or slow the production of a particular protien that activated the microbe. Then it would activate other microbes to get it some other element or 2. :)

    That of course begs the question - Do these symbiotic bacteria do anything in an area where there are no plants? I found the answer to that also.

    Compost is good for the purpose of promoting the habitat of microbes. Microbes given a chance will be mining whatever nutrients there are tied up in the soil. For turf, there are plenty already there w/out much -if any - additional ferts. Overwatered and compacted soils are lucky to survive on their hydroponic doses of urea every 4 weeks. So with foul cultural practices, the advantage of compost is lost b4 it ever gets started. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009

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