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new to organic lawn care

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by jf69, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Now it's your turn, Cronk...

    What is cost effective and beneficial about a mechanical removal of thatch???
    Great discussion... :)
  2. CountryLife Lawn Care

    CountryLife Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Check out some of your local extensions in your area to get a better understanding of soil health. Organic lawn care and natural lawn care go hand in hand. It all starts with devloping:
    good cultural practices
    Healthy soil
    And a good plant (turf) and soil relationship
    By incorperating these things eventually you will be able to create a "self sustaining" lawn that will fight the weeds on its own. there are organic products out there that you can use but i would just stick to an organic fert program that is ideal for your area and spot sray with your herbiceds when needed no blanket sprays!

    with a good tailored organic program overtime you will use less and less herbiceds while still maintaing weed free lawns and keeping your customers happy
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I was hoping for a real discussion, but as usual...

    BTW. mechanical removal of thatch doesn't change anything for 'allowing' water into the soil profile... after 2 weeks, you're generally back where you started from, depending on soil 'texture'...

    jf69 is probably buying "organic products" and believes in the magic it does, without understanding why... another consumerism is all the organic movement accomplished...
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Axe, where the hell do you come up with this crap?
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Why don't you go to one of your heavy, hydrophobic, living thatch lawns and scratch the surface as much as you want and then run the irrigation as long as you want,
    then, pull a plug every day until it soaks in...

    THEN,,, Tell me what happens in your situation, and your, b4 and after, experience...

    Oh my, ax... what can you possibly mean!??!! ... :)
  6. JCResources

    JCResources LawnSite Member
    Posts: 112


    Thanks for the info and thoughts. Here is the picture of the soil plugs from the property I described. This is a typical new home site in this area, no topsoil, compacted clay, heavy synfert use. This is a fescue lawn and as you can see there is heavy thatch on top of the plugs. I took over the property in Oct. and applied a hybrid urea/chicken litter fertilizer. My game plan from here on out is to apply CGM, alfalfa meal (late spring), use compost teas to maintain through the summer, core aerate and topdress with compost in Sept. and see if that improves the situation. Spot spray for weeds, I don't subscribe to the "organics vs synthetics" line. The turf looks surprisingly good considering the soil. Hopefully over this season we can improve water retention and maintain the looks while taking the lawn off of the previous practices.

    Digest and discuss.

  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    could you take another photo with a ruler in the picture?
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Great pix. Being as it is a fescue lawn, there shouldn't be much 'living thatch' and I don't see any. There isn't much for roots in those plugs either, is there? Did you notice if the roots were in any of those plugs originally?

    What do you suppose created all that thatch? Just too much water and fert, while mulch mowing?

    Anyways it doesn't appear to be hydrophobic at all, but there isn't any color in the clay either, so that is likely not perculating effectively. The more thatch that gets rotted into the clay, the better its going hold water and air, and the color will begin to change.

    To encourage the microbes at the earliest possible time in the Spring I usually get some dried molasses and spread it around the lawn, once the grass starts growing. It is cheaper than sugar and it has been suggested that the complex carbohydrates in molasses feed a wider range of microbes. That should kick thatch digestion into high gear.

    Be careful with the water, in that the ground needs to dry, b4 it's watered again. Mictobes need water and air just like the roots and that is going to be the toughest thing to manage correctly. The thatch may dry out and still the clay will have moisture enough to digest the thatch, water the roots and build a structure in the soil, w/out going anaerobic.

    If you are going to aerate and apply compost anyways, I would consider doing it in the Spring if it dries out enough and if it can be done and recover b4 the heat sets in.
    Application of cgm could be postponed until much later it the compost is used early on.

    You will 'mulch mow' this lawn, correct?
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I'm not seeing any significant thatch here at all, with the exception of maybe one of the cores from the aerator, and even that is not clearly thatch. This is not surprising at all given most turf type fescues are not not prone to creating thatch.

    Not really sure how anyone can determine anything about a turf or a soil with such shallow cores, or make any determination about water infiltration from that pic.
  10. JCResources

    JCResources LawnSite Member
    Posts: 112

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