How do you know if the tea is any good?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lrodptl, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. lrodptl

    lrodptl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I've been brewing Harvard Universities formula for 2 years and see no evidence of any benefit in my lawn. Root system remains the same. How do I know if my brewed tea is any good? How does anyone know from brew to brew with the naked eyes,ears and nose?
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Cultural practices and environment for the microbes... it's an inescapable reality... there is no magic bullet... at least with 'manure tea' all of the senses can give you an idea of potency... :)
     
  3. lrodptl

    lrodptl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    So the answer is that pot to pot there is no way of knowing. It seems I brewed a year's worth last year without knowing it was no good as the lawn shows no benefit.
     
  4. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    You can send it in to be tested or buy a microscope and learn to look at microbes yourself.

    Did you do a soil test on your lawn beforehand?

    I view compost tea as another tool in the toolbox, not necessarily a stand alone product for turf, especially if other areas, such as organic matter, are lacking.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    CT is actually living critters, that may or may not survive being sprayed onto the particular soil/lawn you are spraying it onto... You wouldn't expect them to survive for very long spraying them onto a concrete slab, how do you know they are any happier, in some other environment??? I would say that if you can't see any difference, maybe there is none...

    If all you're doing is feeding dead bugs to the grass maybe a pot of old soup will work as well... you might have great tea with lots of variety of living organisms but they may all be dead 24 hours after application IF the environment isn't suitable... there are billions of other individuals already living in your turf to compete with... :)
     
  6. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Who said the microbes being applied in ACT aren't food for the microbes already in the soil?

    I know you have a lot of experience with compost tea:confused:
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    This is the original question:
    "I've been brewing Harvard Universities formula for 2 years and see no evidence of any benefit in my lawn. Root system remains the same. How do I know if my brewed tea is any good? How does anyone know from brew to brew with the naked eyes,ears and nose?"

    There are lots of possibilities, as to why, his lawn never showed improvement... if there is proof i'm wrong, let's discuss...

    It could be something as simple as , *there are no more bits of OM for the microbes to feed on,**, but we will never get to that point in discussion either... :)
     
  8. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,567

    It could be as simple as the microbes being killed by his application method. There is no way to answer the OP's question without knowing the history of his original turf management program compared to his current program. Soil test results before & after, turf type, SOM, irrigation, fertilizer, etc are all part of the equation. Photos before & after would be helpful.



    I will be meeting with the crew at Harvard Yard this Thurs and may have some insight regarding their success.
     
  9. lrodptl

    lrodptl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Barry,I could provide all that but Harvard made it sound so simple,by switching from a basic Scott's program to their formula. They showed a root system that had at least doubled in 6 weeks. They have hundreds of acres,all getting various types of use,various soils,locations,exposures etc. I live nearby.
    Personally I have been using tea for 3 years and using tupersan for crabgrass control and Ringers Restore and Mother Nature's cuisine as a fertilizer. I'm 12 years into this home and I've switched from the Scott's program to organic twice before. I have a sandy soil and the problem areas that get overrun with crabgrass without prevention is sunny 80-90% of the time is the heavily used back yard. Grass type is KBG. I aerate and overseed every year. Other parts of the yard that are shadier and less used do much better,though the perimeter is lined with pines and I'm always battling moss. The only recommendations of consequence from the soil samples from UMASS is lime,along with fertilization numbers that could never be provided organically. Organic content of the soil has tested adequate.
     
  10. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    Nevermind the efficiency of the brewer, quality and amounts of inputs, length of brew.

    With no microscope and assuming a powerful air diffusion around 36 hours is a good estimate; It should no longer smell like the food sources (molasses etc) and should not smell foul but more like earth or mushrooms.
     

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