Simple question - no fertilizer?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Dooger54, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Dooger54

    Dooger54 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    If I start applying compost to the lawn, will that mean I can quit using spring and fall fertilizer altogether? Newbie to this organic idea!
     
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,116

    The basic idea is correct but there is a little more to it, you have to support the beneficial microorganisms that are in the compost. What you are trying to do is get nutrient cycling going in th soil. Once this starts you will have minimal inputs

    Pick up a book called Teaming with microbes by Jeff Lowenfels, it will show you how to get nutrient cycling going in the soil
     
  3. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    54, many cultures through out history have subsisted and existed with only compost and natural materials, we can do this also!!! would you like to take your question further!!!we have totally eliminated our use of fert, its almost totally compost!
     
  4. Dooger54

    Dooger54 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Treegal1-

    Love to take this further - I'm an information junkie! I have a lawn which totals between 2.5 and 3 acres. See my post yesterday in the Maintenance & Renovation forum about what I am doing. Titled "Help deciding on equipment to buy". Somewhat lengthy.

    Spreading compost on my lawn at 1/4" would take about 86 yards of compost. I can purchase and have it delivered to my site for about $1000. I understand this is something I should do annually, at least for a number of years. I'm just trying to justify the cost of doing this every year. I have not been fertilizing all this up to now because of the quantity of fertilizer it would take.

    In addition, looks like I will spend about $2700-3300 on a machine to do the topdressing. Is it worth it??

    As an aside, I try to be "green" in all my practices. I have 2 5000 gallon cistern tanks on my property that catch water from our buildings. I use this water for all of our outside water needs.
     
  5. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    a top dres machine of any type or style(if it works) is a powerful investment! I have one that is worth its weight in gold x10!!! we also bo a lot of hand spreading. 1000 $ for compost??? is that waste made compost?? 80 yards is going to get you half way,:laugh:LOLOL. why is ot so expensive??? is there a horse farm or dump around, even some nasty mushroom compost???fertilizer is going to cost about the same or more than the compost and only give you a quick fix, compost is a long term fix!!
     
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    54 your tractor is a spreader with the correct attachment?? maybe a cone spreader???
     
  7. Dooger54

    Dooger54 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    I am getting the compost from a local university farm that produces it on site. Good stuff and only $15 per ton, which is very inexpensive around here. It will also cost almost that much per ton for trucking, about $100 per load of 18 yards, 8 tons. I will need about 5 loads.

    My tractor will pull an Earth and Turf topdresser machine. That is how I will apply the compost. Another option is to use the box blade on my tractor to spread it, but that would be much more difficult when you're only spreading about 1/4" at a time. I will be aerating and overseeding the lawn also.
     
  8. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    :clapping::clapping::clapping:you got this figured out pretty well, maybe Kiril will jump in here and post a paper with the virtues of compost top dress and/or how it will be more beneficial than fertilizer.
     
  9. Dooger54

    Dooger54 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Love to see that.
     
  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,560

    Mike McGrath, formally of organic gardening magazine now of NPR you bet your garden, says 1" compost in fall & corn gluten in the spring is all you need for a wonderful lawn.
     

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