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St. Augustine Organic's

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Landscape Poet, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Thanks Barefoot James - actually I was just reading another post from a guy looking at going Organic in Fl with St. Aug and FL-Scapes recommended treegal1 too - I did a search for that and came back across this post and thought I would go back and see what I missed.
    Good looking out.
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I don't think you necessarily need to have a "pure" poultry litter compost to get at least some of the beneficial effects. Long story short, you could mix your own with bagged crap and whatever compost is available to you as a temporary measure until you find a bulk source.

    Not SA, TTTF. It gets one app of compost once a year with an over seed. Last year I sprayed some molasses in the spring because I was not happy with the rate of compost decomposition. With respect to N, not concerned with it. I don't approach plant fertility (for landscapes) based on "recommended" amounts, but rather I let the plant tell me what it needs. If you need to know total N being applied get your compost tested by a lab.
  3. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Thanks for your insight - finally getting some direct insight helps- just actually done posting in another thread back to one of your post - we are jumping back and forth so sorry if this seems that I am repeating the same thing over and over.
    For simplicity sake and to make it easier for others seeking answers lets continue this conversation in the FL St. Augustine organics thread if you do not mind.

    I must say that your results look great with just the annual app of compost If I understand this you should not expect those type of results right away correct but rather over a extended period of time as you continue to feed the soil? Are you using a plant based compost or animal or blend?
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    How quickly you can get there depends on what you have to start with. That particular soil is a class 2 soil.

    Blended by the supplier.
  5. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Thanks again Kiril ,

    Next question - the mulch supply I have found is from my mulch supplier. Went to visit him today to see if he could give some insight into what it was made with, and of course he could not other than it was plant based.

    So this is my initial game plan - roughly 1/2 yard of compost per K with the addition of a "Organic" 6-2-2 available from a local supplier, which is chicken manure based - for the fungal benefits I have read about. Again my interest in not to be 100% organic at this time but rather to try to solve issues which have been evident in the lawn, soil even after traditional syn treatments of fert and fungicide.

    One more question - I need something to jump start the microbes with the compost app correct. You mentioned molasses, and my supplier does not currently carry this or any teas, can you suggest any other activators to jump start.

    Sound like a good start to you? Thanks in advance

  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    The microbes don't need to be jump started. If you want more activity, faster nutrient turnover, faster decomposition, etc... then apply simple food sources, like molasses.

    Compost rates with sandy soils low in SOM should be higher initially than other soils that are in better shape. You will need to soil test to determine how to proceed. Include a test for SAR and EC, especially if your irrigation water is low quality (class 3 or higher).
  7. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638


    Have had a lab test of the soil completed recently - but am not familiar with SAR and EC - please elaborate what this is and why it is important.
    Here are the lab results FYI
    Soil O.M is 1.7%
    Texture Code B2
    Cation Exchange Capacity is 6
    Sol Salts 124 ppm
    Ph is 6.9

    Ca 5.3 Meg/100cm3
    Mg 0.54
    K 0.16

    Ca/Mg Ratio 9.8
    Mg/K 3.4

    P 46
    S 10
    B 0.32
    Cu 1.8
    Fe 58
    Mn 2.1
    Zn 6.5
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    SAR = sodium adsorption ratio
    EC = electrical conductivity

    These tests tell you about potentially damaging salt concentrations in your soils. If your soils and/or irrigation water is high in salts, then you need to be careful what you add into the system. Some composts could bring in more salts than you want. Generally speaking you want to keep your soils EC below 4.0 dS/m

    BTW, the soluble salts reported on your test is the number you want to look at. As an exercise I will leave it up to you to find out how to covert it to dS/m.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    When we are testing diluted products we always make sure that the EC reading is below 2. Above that can be damaging to plants
    The below 4 recommendation from Kiril is a good one

    that is a very typical CA/Mg ratio for your environment, in clay soils we like to see more towards 6 to 1 or 7 to 1, your soils are often deficient in Mg.
  10. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Thanks Kiril - I dont mind doing the leg work as I am learning as long as I know what I am looking for and why! You guidance and patience has been appreciated.

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