Soil Structure

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I think it might be a good time to revisit the most important aspect of "organic lawncare' and that is soil...
    We are going on and on about ferts, which is the primary question, but we are not 'integrating' those ferts into the soil very well.

    Compost builds soil structure and reduces the amount of ferts by providing CE sites, holds water while increasing perculation and drainage???


    None of that is true, if the irrigation is improperly handled...
    None of that is true, if there is a perpetual suface growing of thatch...

    Soil texture and temperature would effect HOW the irrigation should be handled, but these ideas, are never thought important enough to be considered when discussing the use of ferts and reaching the point of "zero inputs"... :)
     
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Are you asking a question or making a statement?


    I am unsure where you are going with this. Can you expand?
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    What got me thinking of this again was the responses given to c2weech on that last thread...

    It was all about fertilizers and Paradise touched on how compost can help a lawn but I don't see that there is a comprehensive program being promotted on this forum...

    For exa. Kiril, I know you are one to think seriously about irrigation. But there is no real connection between compost on top of the ground and roots growing deeper in the soil and the soil actually become 'fertile' over time, at more than an inch under the real thatch layer...

    So it is hard to just put it in a question, with an answer, bcause I believe we should be constructing ecosystems for turf , rather than jut throwing stuff on and concerning ourselves with what stuff is good, not good, unsustainable, etc...

    The stuff itself is only secondary to the eco-system's dynamics, IMO... I think we need to look at a bigger picture by now, is all I'm saying... :)
     
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Surface applied organic matter will will move through the soil profile over time, even in a heavy clay. How far and how fast depends on the site and environment.

    For me, the bigger picture is building regionally appropriate landscapes. These landscapes are naturally suited for the regional climate and soils, and by default require substantially less inputs to maintain at acceptable levels than the exotic regionally inappropriate alternative.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Here is a good place for a specific question... If that is true:

    How does that happen? and what can we do to expedite that action?

    Secondarily:

    If there is already a real thatch problem, why does it not just encourage more roots growing into a lovely medium such as compost, right there in the thatch? Especially if a N fert is applied near that same time period?
     
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Soil pedogenesis. -> climate + living organisms + parent material + topography + time

    Core aerating, earth worms & microbial decomposition and irrigation are probably the primarily ways to expedite the process ... irrigation (or water in the soil and water movement through the profile) being the biggest factor. That said .... there is the trade-off between conserving water and building a soil .... and you have to determine which is more important for the site in question.

    A significant thatch layer is a real problem and as it grows in thickness, it will likely result in more roots in the thatch layer than in the soil.
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So one little step at a time:

    Does it make any sense to add compost to a lawn that is heavily infested with real thatch, unless it has been aerated first?
     
  8. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,544

    But, isn't time the factor that we cannot affect. Core aeration, irrigation, etc. will improve current soils but actual soil formation (pedogenesis) from start to finish takes more than our lifetimes. Correct?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    :drinkup: :laugh: OK, stupid question... No headway on this subject at all... sell the fertilizers and the proaganda... why should I care??? :drinkup:
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Not really. If that thatch is that bad it needs to be dealt with either by aerating or verti-mow.
     

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