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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DeepGreenLawn, Jul 18, 2008.
Give me a hint where to look. I'd love to see it.
Can you view this link? http://www.lawnsite.com/search.php?searchid=4135012
That should contain a few for you to read. At the top of the site is a tab called "search". Click it and put in any word and it will search all threads onsite for anything containing search word.
Hey guys, last as in the latest.
I used a biosludge type compost from a local county municipality that sold it pretty cheap. It was a class A compost so any disease, bacteria, etc was not of concern, however, it did was not consistent in its finishing and I burned a few spots.
I am no longer offering this service due to the labor I had involved with it. I personnaly had a trailer load, wheel barrel, and a rake for this job. I would load the wheel barrel, pour out little piles spaced evenly, and then spread the compost with a rake. It worked well, and smoothly, and the benefits to doing this are still more than obvious. Again, the labor that was involved was OK for the time but I have since grown to a size that it is no longer feasible.
If I were to recommend this practice to anyone else I would suggest using a manufactured compost spreader that can run from about 2-10 thousand dollars. You get what you pay for and different designs of spreaders can be used for different aspects.
For a large, open space, I would go for the broadcast spreader. For smaller, tighter areas, I would recommend a drop spreader. Each has their benefits and down falls.
As far as a compost to use, you will need to find a quality, well screened compost. I have done a few of these topdressings including my own yard. The "Cobbpost" as we call the product I used above, was great in texture, but the base product, and the lack of a consistent product caused me to take it off the list. I have used "store bought" products from local nurseries and have had issues with small wood chips that do not go away except with heavy rains, and if it is anything like my back yard where it pools, then you will likely never be happy.
However, there are some people who have posted here about having high quality products near there locations, so each location may be different. Unfotunately I do not have such a product near me.
The reasons for doing this service are many, but here are a few that I based my applications on.
1. Organic matter, the building blocks, foundation, base, whatever you want to call it, of a proper organic lawn program.
2. Fertilizer, a quality compost is full of nutrients that the lawn can feed off of and depending on the amount applied and the product, can last sometimes a full season.
3. Reduces compaction. We have the infamous "red clay" here in GA and compost is great for breaking it up.
4. The list goes on and on as far as benefits of compost/OM (organic matter) such as drought resistance, disease resistance, etc etc....
The downfalls and problems I came across...
1. You need a high quality product.
2. LABOR intensive, without the proper equipment.
3. Large bulk amounts of material lead to transportation, storage, and application issues.
4. Cost, all that labor adds up and if your charging like you should, it's not cheap for the customer.
Any other questions feel free to ask. I have also used manure from a nearby dairy farm, I personally have had issues there with smell, and possible burning as well. Sometimes you have to work with what you have, if you are doing your own property the smell of some products may not be an issue, if you are doing a customers home... then you not only have to take them into consideration but also their neighbors, and my concern was if I have neighbors smelling the crap next door, why would they want to go organic as well?
I have since found a quality 100% organic bagged product that will go through my normal spreader that is OMRI listed, not manure based, and does not smell. The cost is about double my synthetic products and therefor the cost to the customer is also higher. We are currently looking for any and every way to lower our costs for the next year to attempt to even out our prices.
Thanks for that, it is most helpful.
I'm not a lawn care company, I make compost and I'm trying to learn more about the mechanics and benefits of topdressing for lawns.
Sure, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask. What do you mean by "you make compost?
I compost the yard trimmings for a local town.
Looks like you have a great handle on the process.
Thx, I grasp the actual composting part and how it can help the soil etc. etc. but I'm NOT a grass person by any stretch of the imagination.
We have constructed some top dressers and I've done a few lawns in town just to see if they worked, how much product they applied, how long it takes, yada yada. Once I get my head wrapped around this subject I hope to be able to converse with people about it with some intelligence rather than baffle them with BS.
It can be complicated. (at least for me) So here I am learning as fast as I can. There are a lot of posts on the subject.
So when topdressing with compost, it does not even out low spots in lawns does it? I take it topsoil must be used for that???
DGL, why not just limit your compost usage to once a year then supplement with your other organic product(s)? This way you reduce your labor costs but still get the benefit of a yearly compost top dress.