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Thatch and the Pine Forest

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I often dig into the soil where ever I am able to, just to see what I can learn... therefore it is not surprising that another thread, got me thinking about ways in which we could 'visulize' the thatch in our turf, by comparison with the 'floor' of a pine forest.

    What is interesting about the 'organic' decay in an undisturbed environment, is the sequential layers one finds, as you dig into the rootzones...

    On the surface of the forest floor you have lots of fresh pine needles covering the ground in a carpetlike fashion with very little other growth becoming a problem.

    Underneath the surface there is a layer of blackened rotted needles that hold a great deal of moisture.

    Dig a little deeper and you can 'feel' the consistancy of OM mixed with the top layer of soil... with worms and everything else living there in the 'rhizosphere', or root zone.

    How does that compare(or contrast) to the layer of thatch in the turf?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The thatch would have exactly the same 3 layers of decay and provide the very same benefits as the needles for the trees.
    That layer under the new needles, often times has roots from the pine tree growing 'up' into it.

    What happens to the forest floor, if we go in and strip away all the pine needles? Down to the dirt?
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081


    The surface roots of the tree die. The ground becomes barren and dusty, even hydrophobic is some instances.
    And that is the same issue with thatch in the turf, because it serves the same functions as mulch does for shrubs and flowers.
    It eliminates bad things like wild temperature swings, wild moisture swings, wind and water erosion, ect...
    It promotes some good things like building soil structure at least at the contact point, allows the water to slow and soak, eventually increasing perculation, food and shelter for earthworms, etc., etc...

    My question is:
    Why doesn't the organic forum have any clue to what I'm talking about? Mechanical dethatching is organic?

    I don't know the best way to do Southern grasses, but somebody in the South must have done something organically and would have an understanding, even if just an experience to pass along...
  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    Maybe they are all using Lolium perenne. :laugh:

    Food for the soil food web is GOOD.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Even if it is Lolium perenne, I believe that a good cover of some type of decaying mulch-like material is critical to the Soil Food Web, for that specie as well...

    Would you concur??? :)
  6. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    Yes I do Smallaxe.

    Besides clipping return, and some short chain Carbon (Sugars) what else could be added as a Liquid to keep the OM up enough to feed the Herd? 2 gal/1K. (hose).
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Fish Hydrolysate, liquid kelp, liquid humate.
  8. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    Hi Barry,

    Any other products available?

    The Fish always brought with it great results BUT too many comments from the scent.

    Kelp no issues with smell and the bioavailability is good.

    Earthworks "Kick" has me covered on the Sugars and Humates.

    Any other Options?

    Sugar Beet Extracts?????
  9. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    sent you PM.

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