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Basic organic start to improve lawn?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Jim Z, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Jim Z

    Jim Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    I've got approx 1 acre lawn. I guess you can say I'm now organic as I haven't done much of anything other than cut and blow leaves etc. The other day when I was edging my wife's perennial gardens I was blown away by the number of worms so the soil is healthy. I just got a new Exmark Quest and am thinking of adding the mulching kit if I get good feedback on that from another thread. The lawn actually looks pretty good with no brown or bare spots but does have some crabgrass etc. I'd like to thicken it up a bit but not by a lot of extra watering as I'm on a well and don't want to stress that. I plan to raise the cutting height up a bit from what I've been doing which was 3" and do it more often as well. Looking for some suggestions of what to possibly do to improve the lawn without making it a full time job. Actually only looking to improve the front a bit to set off some of the gardens my wife does.

    I was thinking of thatching and adding milorganite or similar and maybe some grass seed in the fall?

    Before anyone says if I don't water and put in a lot of time if I won't get a perfect lawn, I want to be clear that I don't want or expect a perfect lawn... just maybe spruce it up a bit if it's possible. Oh, I'm in CT so it's not a year round thing here but probably cut about 6 months of it. Thanks for any suggestions in advance.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Thatching may or may not be desireable for creating ground contact for overseeding, but usually - thin areas are not thick with thatch, unless it has been contantly over fertilized and over watered. Not your situation the way it sounds.

    Overseeding in the fall for thin spots is best done with a broom rake and a couple bags of compost to cover the seed. Simple and easy and high percentage of success. Fertilize in the fall along with mulching in the grass clippings, and your lawn should be just fine.
  3. blz

    blz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    The following link provides good information on how to fertilize your lawn organically. Hope it helps!

    Organic Lawn Fertilization
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    This is a quote in the 2nd section of the article... What is wrong with this mindset? Does it reflect feeding the grass or building the soil?

    "Organic fertilizers generally have a much lower NPK analysis than conventional fertilizers. This means that more material will have to be applied to provide the same amount of nutrients. For this reason you will want to know what else is in the product so that you are not applying high levels of something harmful to the grass, people or plants."

    Organics has it politically correct agenda, its political agenda, its sales gimmickry agenda, just like synthetic fert, and it all is funded at the Universities. Just like the synthetic ferts.

    Replacing a 20 lbs. bag of N-P-K with a pickup load of various other 'Organic' products is just stupid and certainly a waste of money. Most everything you read on organics was written by someone with an agenda of some sort.
  5. Jim Z

    Jim Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    In our town they collect leaves in the fall and "compost" them. Homeowners can go get as much of this as they want. What do you think about using this for topdressing and reseeding or simply as a booster to the soil? It actually looks blacker than this but it has early morning sun on it that makes it warmer looking than it is. This pile was still steaming a little when I loaded it.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Would that be similar to whatever agenda you have against universities? ;)
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Bravo! :clapping:

    I would probably want to pot a bit of it and test it for weed seeds before top dressing on turf. If you are confident it has been composted correctly you could skip that step.
  8. Jim Z

    Jim Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    I'm going to give some of this a try in an area I'm totally reseeding in one area. It will be all new grass seed so it should be a good test for weeds. Thanks.
  9. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    How will you be able to identify if the weeds are from the compost or recently disturbed soil?
  10. Jim Z

    Jim Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    Good point. I guess I really won't for sure:). Right now there's close to nothing there and what was there before it became so shaded by both a new barn a few years ago plus the trees expanding shade, it was a really nice lawn there. I guess I'll see what happens and take it from there but I'm sure if it grows well, it will be way better than the dirt patch it is now.

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