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where does the nitrogen go

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lawnlubber, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    Experts recommend adding x lbs of nitrogen every year to grow a healthy lawn. If you don't remove clippings where does all that nitrogen go? Leachate, run off, unusable nitrogen tied up in the soil where? Why didn't the prairies need fertilizer to grow grass before we came here.
     
  2. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,564

    it is left in the leaf blades that are cut off.
     
  3. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    And then begins to break down and become bio-available.
     
  4. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    So if the clippings are not removed there is no need for adding nitrogen every couple of months, true?
     
  5. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    From what I have read/heard, you can supply about 1 lb of N a year from not removing your clippings. It will help reduce the amount you need to put on, but not totally cover it. Not 100% of the nitrogen goes to the leaf blade to be cut off, and recycled. A lot is eventually used or lost to the environment.
     
  6. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233


    Exactly..I would not leave it at just the clippings if you want that perfect lawn. While they provide nitrogen over time, if you want perfection, you will have to boost it intermittently as well.

    I was not aware that it was aroud 1 pound marko, thats good to know.

    -Reuben
     
  7. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,006

    According to Turgeon dry clippings contain around 3 % N.
     
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Right but decaying organic matter also burns nitrogen when it's breaking down.
     
  9. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,006

    Would you consider dry clippings organic matter or organic material?
     
  10. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    Personally, I do not consider grass clippings huge consumers of nitrogen while decomposing. The process happens really quickly.

    I have noticed this with a lot of mulches however, especially fresh fir and hemlock. The biggish chunks of wood that you think are providing the ground with such great nutrient are actually creating a need for nitrogen.
     

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